The Ehang 184 personal autonomous passenger drone is hoping to change transport
Imagine if you could avoid peak hour traffic congestion and overcrowded public transport by flying to work in your own personal autonomous passenger drone.
What was once the subject of science fiction is now a reality, with Chinese UAV company Ehang showcasing its rapid transport solution - the Ehang 184.
The passenger vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft uses eight electric motors to power eight propellers, which can carry one person weighing up to 100kg in a small cabin.
With a flight ceiling of 3.5km and cruising speeds of 100km, the Ehand 184 has a flight time of 25 minutes and can cover 30 - 50kms from a single charge - it takes two hours to recharge.
Having come a long way since the concept was first revealed twelve months ago, the personal transport drone has now flown over 200 tests - both with and without pilots.
Co-founder Derrick Xiong said the Ehang 184 was being tested to offer an automated passenger drone that required no licence or previous flying experience.
"Everything is operated from a command centre, which has engineers able to control drones wherever they are in the world," he told news.com.au
"Nothing will be limited by distance, with the drone will sending information of flight paths and live video directly back to the command centre so we know what is going on at all times."
Mr Xiong said the Ehang 184 had been fitted with a barometer and sensors to monitor any faults or unexpected objects with the flight path.
"If anything goes wrong, the command centre will be made aware and our engineers will communicate with the passenger inside the drone," he said.
The company is in the process of applying for air certificates, which could take some time given the nature of the project.
Mr Xiong added the company was also working to improve the flight times and battery life of the personal autonomous passenger drone before launch.
If not made for commercial use, the personal drone could be a good fit for search and rescue missions.
While there is no official release date, we know the Ehang 184 won't come cheap, with the product expected to cost between NZ$284,620 to NZ$390,000.