China is once again paving the way for the possible future of transportation, with Guangzhou-based drone-making company EHang unveiling the first automated aerial vehicle for humans at Wednesday’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The EHang 184 can carry a single passenger of up to 100kg for a distance of 10 miles. No piloting is required on our part, with just two commands needed for takeoff and landing.
Safety features include a hover button and while the drone is capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions, it’s also programmed to land automatically should the vehicle be damaged during flight. On top of that, reinforcements have been built in for all systems, ensuring backups in the case of one feature fails.
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So far there are loose plans for the initial use of the EHang in contained areas like tourist spots.
“This first realisation of automated flight signifies a major turning point not only for the transportation industry, but also for a huge swath of other fields such as shipping, medical care and retail,” EHang declared in a statement.
Regarding the current lack of any regulations for this new kind of technology, the company responded: “We are in uncharted waters, and are working closely with government agencies across the planet to develop and regulate the future of transportation.”
Co-founder Derrick Xiong plans to start selling the drones this year at $200,000 to $300,000, with the hopes that they will provide a reliable means of transportation for short to medium distances.
By Pinky Latt
[Image via DFIC]