First debuted at the CES 2016. The Ehang 184, though at the time simply a concept human passenger drone, provided much relief from all the smartphones, tablets, computers, and giant TVs that normally takes center stage at CES.
Back then, the Ehang 184 looked more like a sci-fi movie or one of those hoax futuristic videos rampant on YouTube. However, on Monday this week, the company showed off amazing video of the Ehang 184 drone carrying an actual human.
The videos shows the drone in a test field and the company goes further to say that the aerial vehicle has so far carried 40 passengers. Some of the high profiled passengers who have flown on the drone include the company’s CEO Huazhi Hu and the mayor of Guangzhou Province, Wang Dong.
The company was also quick to point out that so far, the Ehang 184 manned drone has undergone “thousands of test flights” in the four years the company has been making it. The video above is perhaps one of the clearest footage of the manned drone in action.
Considering the fact that the drone will be flying above cities full of people, cars, schools, petrol stations on the ground. One would not question why the company took about four years since it showcased the prototype at CES 2016 to just now releasing the first footage of the drone in action. Safety first! We don’t want the drone falling from the skies causing loss of lives and properties on the ground.
Although there is no word yet as to exactly when the company will start shipping the manned drone. Though that will be subject to a lot of regulations and licensing in countries where it intends to ship the drone. You can’t expect the aviation authority to allow just about anybody to fly the craft, and in just about any air space they wish. At least not so easily.
However, Dubai announced last year it is looking into using manned drones as air taxis to relieve the car congestion on its roads. Perhaps Dubai might be among the first customers to purchase the Ehang 184 manned drones.
Though the company still says it has no hurry in starting to ship the drones. They want to exhaust all the safety tests and improvement first. Hu, the company’s CEO said:
“Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles. What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first.”