Chinese drone-maker Ehang has developed the 184, a prototype of the first autonomous drone that will fly humans.
The helicopter-like flying machine seats one, and after the flier enters the destination, it will require just two button presses from the rider: take off and land. That’s all it takes to pilot the thing.
The 184 (one passenger, eight propellers, four arms), isn’t ready to fly just yet. There are all kinds of government clearances that it will have to obtain before you can fly by drone to work. But Ehang says it is working closely with government agencies on the technology.
Meanwhile Dubai has made a habit of pushing the transportation envelope, and its latest ambitions are literally sky high.
Dubai’s transportation agency chief announced Monday at the World Government Summit that human-ferrying drones would begin transporting people across the city’s iconic skyline in July, according to the Associated Press.
Indeed, the government has “actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies” already, Mattar al-Tayer told the AP. It was not clear how much each ride will cost.
The drone can carry a single passenger weighing up to 220 pounds and a small suitcase for 30 minutes. The traveler climbs into the drone and inputs a destination within 31 miles, then takes to the sky at a speed of 62 mph, according to the AP. The drone is monitored via a control room.
The drone takes off from and lands at predetermined points and uses a camera to ensure a safe landing, according to EHang’s website. If the drone malfunctions or disconnects from 4G mobile service, it promises to land immediately at the nearest safe location, the company says.