Hats off to Ehang for grabbing the drone spotlight at CES 2016. The Chinese drone maker introduced its autonomous, human-carrying drone called “184” in Vegas that can carry up to 220lb.
Now, Ehang says its designed to carry one human passenger, but knowing how the Federal Aviation Administration works, this thing will never see the light of day in the United States. However, Ehang said at CES that it’s working closely with government agencies on the 184.
The 184 (one passenger, eight propellers, four arms) is an electric-powered drone that can be fully charged in two hours and fly for 23 minutes with a top speed of 63 MPH. The cabin has air conditioning and a reading light.
Ehang says 184 has all sorts of built-in failsafes, including multiple power backups, auto-landing in case of trouble, and an On-Star-like command center for fliers who need help. After setting a flight plan, passengers needed only to give two commands – “take off” and “land” – done with a single click on a tablet, the company said.
Shang Hsiao, Ehang’s co-founder and chief financial officer, tells The Guardian his company hoped to sell the device for $200,000-$300,000 this year but acknowledged it occupied a legal grey area. “The whole world never had something like this before.”
Would you take a ride in Ehang’s 184? Count me in.