World's First Passenger Drone Is Ready For Testing

World's First Passenger Drone Is Ready For Testing 

Chinese well-founded Ehang took the world by storm when it showed its electric passenger drone at CES in January. Now, it’s established clearance and can begin testing the 184 in Nevada later this year.

The company combined with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to safe regulatory approval for the Ehang 184.
The Ehang 184 is considered to carry a 220-pound load, fly under 650 feet in the air, and travel for 23 minutes at an average speed of 62 mph, according to the specs. Electric charging takes two to four hours. The four-rotor drone also uses an app for landing and takeoff. 

Recently the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems and the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development declared an agreement with EHang to collaborate on training, flight testing and development at the state's FAA unmanned aircraft systems test site. The goal is for Ehang's drone to finally get regulatory approval. The people involved called the agreement "historic," but "futuristic" sounds more accurate to me.

"I personally look forward to the day when drone taxis are part of Nevada's transportation system," Tom Wilczek, an aerospace and defense industry specialist for the Governor's Office of Economic Development, said in a press release.

The company declares its autonomous drone will be able to take off vertically and carry a passenger for up to 23 minutes at an altitude of 11,500 feet going 63mph to their destination with no input other than the destination.

Ehang will have to demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that its drone is safe to use before it can begin operating in a wider capacity. It ways its trials at the FAA’s unmanned aircraft systems test site in Nevada.

According to the video, the designer was inspired to design "an absolute safe aerial vehicle" after two of his friends were killed in airplane crashes.

The understanding is meant to be very simple for the passenger. The company describes: "After setting up the flight plan with a single click, a user can take off on any location, sit, relax and enjoy the flight."

It's that simplicity that has raised security questions. As Business Insider wrote after the drone was unveiled, "The first question I had was what would happen if the flight-control tablet crashed or some technical issue arose mid-flight." Similarly, "there weren't any physical controls such as a steering wheel or joystick to be found." The site says that according to EHang, there are "multiple fail-safes in place to take over if there's a specific failure," and a flight control center that "can intervene if necessary."

Nevada has already made the reputation as being a “friend of self-driving developers” as the home of Las Vegas was one of the first places in the world to permit autonomous vehicles testing on its network of highways and roads.

Initially starting life as a producer of camera drones for professionals and hobbyists, Ehang hopes its 184 could be as innovative as Google’s self-driving car when it launches on the road and trusts that in future the quad-copters could form a fleet of sky taxis for busy cities.

No comments

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.