A Chinese company presented in Las Vegas the first drone capable of carrying a passenger. The company, Ehang Inc, headquartered in Guangzhou City, made known the device at the CES Convention 2016. Nothing less than the largest fair of the world’s consumer technology.
The drone was named “Ehang 184” and looks like a small helicopter. Generally, a drone has four parallel helices to the ground, and it’s only electronic, controlled via a tablet or smartphone. The Ehang 184 is capable of flying for 23 minutes and the battery can be fully charged in two hours. It is also designed to carry a person up to a maximum weight of 100 kg.
According to the company, the maximum speed of this drone is 100 km/h and the maximum altitude that it reaches is 3.5 km, having been conceived to fly between 300 and 500 meters. The machine’s cabin has air conditioning and a reading light, and there is space available for a small load, like a bag.
Before starting the journey, the passenger needs to define its flight plan, next, its only necessary to give two commands: “take off” and “land” through a simple click on the control equipment.
The financial director and co-founder of Ehang, Shang Hsiao, told “The Guardian” that he wants to put the device on the market this year, with a value between 200 and 300 thousand dollars (between 186 and 279 thousand euros). Still, Hsiao recognizes the difficulties given the legal provisions on the use of drones for passengers, something that is still not regulated.
“The world has never had anything like this,” he said.
The director of enterprise marketing, Derrick Xiong, also assured that the device has been tested more than 100 times, most of the times with one person on board, and that they will create a control station on the ground so that there are more chances to control the device in case of an emergency.