The “EHang 184”, created by Chinese Company Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science & Technology Co., Ltd. has become the world’s first Autonomous Aerial Vehicle, AAV for transporting humans across the sky. Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas last year, the vehicle can carry 1 passenger, has 8 propellers and 4 wings thus “184.” The passenger simply punches in their desired destination into the touch screen or their smartphone app, then sit back and relax. EHang officials say the vehicle is designed for traveling short to medium distances – generally 2 to 10 miles with a top speed of 60mph. Riding in a driverless car is hard for me to think about, but being air-borne without a pilot takes it to a whole new level. From what I understand there is no option to take over controls of the 184 from inside the vehicle and every flight is remotely monitored from a control room. EHang claims they have equipped the 184 with a “fail-safe system”. The independently developed fail-safe system ensures that if any components malfunction, or if there’s damage while the AAV is in-flight, i.e. from a bird, the aircraft will immediately begin taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety. The system automatically evaluates the damage and determines the next best course of action for its passenger’s. The communication system was also designed with special encryption to safeguard from hackers. Head of Dubai’s Road & Transportation Agency recently announced at the World Government Summit that the 184 autonomous drone would be flying in Dubai by July. No official launch date has been set by the company, but they believe commercialization will begin in a few months. The U.S. may not be far behind the game as officials from Nevada are seeking to partner with EHang to test the 184. Interestingly the EHang produces zero emissions as it is battery powered. I heard the price was somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000, which seem insanely high when you consider a small but proven helicopter such as the Robinson R44 Raven I costs $355,000 brand new, has a 350-mile range and can transport 3 passengers at 4000 feet. I suspect once the EHang hits the market and more competition comes into the space prices will come down significantly. Watch a video of the 184 in action HERE. (Source: DailyMail)
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