Only a single passenger quadcopter made it to the CES 2016. Nonetheless, it was enough to capture the attention of the head of Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency, who announced that these passenger drones would begin regular operations in Dubai this July. The announcement was made at the World Government Summit.
The Chinese EHang 184 debuted at the CES 2016 as a Personal Flying Vehicle. It can carry a human with weight up to 100 kgs and comes with a separate compartment for a small suitcase. The craft itself weighs 500 pounds. The creators define the vehicle as
“the safest, eco-est and smartest low altitude autonomous aerial vehicle.”
The drones are not just some futuristic hope. The chief Mattar al-Tayer mentioned,
“This is not only a model. We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies.”
The quadcopter will only fly between predetermined points while being piloted and monitored from a remote command center to which it communicates via a 4G Wireless network. The electric-powered EHang 184 can hit speeds of 100 mph, lasting 40-50 kilometers on a single charge. With a typical speed of 62 mph, the drone can complete its journey in about half an hour.
All you need to do is; get in, strap your seatbelt, punch in your destination on a touch screen and you are ready to go.
The futuristic city of Dubai is the first to introduce the remotely controlled autonomous drone taxis officially. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) regulations have prevented the company from legally testing it in the US. EHang may have been the first in the race for passenger drones, but it is not the only one. Airbus and Uber are working on the same lines, and it is only a matter of time before we start seeing passenger drones flying above our heads everywhere.
You may want to start saving up and get to Dubai this summer. Or you can instead wait for the drone taxis to begin operations in your area.
Watch the EHang flight test in the video below.
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