This is not science fiction. EHang 184, the world’s first passenger drone, a self-driving, electrically powered helicopter-like vehicle made by a Chinese tech company, has made its first public flight in the southern city of Guangzhou on Tuesday, 6th February 2018.
EHang 184 has the capacity to carry a single passenger weighing up to 220 pounds (99kg) for a 23-minute flight at a speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour). During one test flight, it carried two passengers with a total load of 210kg.
The self-driving passenger drone’s battery is located under the seat. A flight time of 23 minutes may not be so huge at the moment, but it is a testimony to the improvement in battery technology that even this is possible.
There is no doubt that the technology behind passenger drones will accelerate quickly, especially as there are many companies around the world pursuing the development of electric vehicles. Longer flight times and bigger capacity are not far away for passenger drones.
Already, there are plans to deploy self-flying taxis in locations around the world. The city of Dubai has been at the fore-front of adopting artificial intelligence. Already deploying robots for policing, Dubai and EHang reached an agreement in 2017 to work together to develop and deploy self-flying taxis in the city.
Video Of The World’s First Passenger Drone In Flight
Here is a video of the Ehang 184 in operation and carrying the company’s CEO during its maiden flight.
Science fiction becomes reality. The future is exciting!