Ehang’s engineers tested the Ehang 184 thoroughly over the last several months, and with good measure. The company conducted over 1,000 test flights with human passengers, including a 984-foot (300-meter) vertical climb, a weight test carrying over 500 pounds (230 kilograms), a routed test flight covering 9.3 miles (15 kilometers), and a high-speed cruising test that reached 80.7 mph (130 km/h).

The company’s engineers also performed tests in a variety of weather conditions, including high heat, heavy fog, night tests, and during a Category 7 typhoon with gale-force winds.

Ehang’s key word is “mobility,” as it often is with these types of ventures. The company wants to put its egg-shaped, multirotor aircraft in use as an air taxi, shuttling passengers across dense urban environments. The company has said it would demonstrate this service for Dubai’s World Government Summit later this month, but a spokesperson didn’t respond whether that was still the case. Dubai is also working with Germany’s Volocopter on a similar air taxi service. If that doesn’t work, Ehang has permission from the state of Nevada to test the Ehang 184 at its FAA-approved UAV test site.

Ehang says the 184, which is all electric, can carry a single passenger up to 10 miles or roughly 23 minutes of flight. The person in the cockpit doesn’t do any piloting; they just input their destination and enjoy the ride. The company claims its aircraft is able to take off autonomously, fly a route, sense obstacles, and land. And if anything goes wrong, a human pilot is supposed to step in and take over the controls from a remote command station.

Ehang sees luxury rides for rich folks as the first phase of this new market, with autonomous aircraft becoming more widely available at lower prices after fleets and flight paths have become well established, and, of course, once the cost of having a human pilot around is eliminated.

Read the complete article on: https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/5/16974310/ehang-passenger-carrying-drone-first-test-flight

Image: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbemannte_Luftfahrt#/media/File:Ehang184_by_ben_smith.jpg