There are several companies now developing drones capable of transporting passengers, but the most significant and most recent breakthrough comes from China, where a company called EHang Inc. has been working on its take on the soon-to-bloom transportation market segment.
A Chinese maker of aerial vehicles, Ehang, based in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, conducted test flights of its autonomous aerial vehicle, or AAV, on Tuesday.
As per reports, the aircraft is run entirely on electric batteries and has the competence to carry one person weighing not more than 100 kilograms.
In addition to the other tests, the drone was put through its paces in several different weather scenarios, including hot temperatures, heavy fog, gale-force and category 7 typhoon winds, and its ability to operate in the dark. "But our successful flight today means the scenes that we used to only see in sci-fi movies are now very close to common people", said Hu Huazhi, chief executive officer (CEO) of Chinese tech company EHang.
"Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles", Hu said, according to the release.
Further testing and improvements are still needed before the EHANG 184 is ready for prime time.
The new drone will go through further enhancements, with a focus on improving passenger experience and adding an optional manual control.
"This is a step-by-step process", Hu said, "and at EHANG, we have our own road map". As the video shows, the Ehang 184can carry two people with an approximate weight limit of 460 pounds.
If the name Ehang rings any bells, that's because it is the same company that partnered with Dubai to develop self-flying drone taxis.
Founded in 2014, Ehang has made some high-profile appearances in recent years.
But when will these passenger drones be readily available for public use?
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