World's first passenger drone makes maiden public flight in China



"We've been developing and testing aerial vehicle technology for some time now, and we're finally at the test flight stage for the AAV".

In 2016, when a Chinese drone maker came to CES, the world's largest consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas, and promised to build a completely autonomous vehicle to carry people or cargo, critics doubted it could overcome technical obstacles.

The Ehang 184 is a battery-powered passenger drone that can be piloted or flown autonomously.

The Ehang 184 now has an operating range of 10 miles or 16 kilometres which equates to around 23 minutes of flying time claims the company.

EHang said the final commercial product will fly into the market possibly within the year. "It's been a huge success". Hu said the aircraft performed well in all conditions. In it we can see a host of passengers climb into the aircraft, including Ehang CEO Huazhi Hu, and Chinese government officials such as deputy mayor of Guangzhou, Wang Dong.

The company said the manned test flights are the latest in a series of safety tests before it is made available for public use "in the near future". Each vehicle's communications are encrypted with independent keys; in the event of an in-flight emergency, the system can evaluate the situation and execute emergency landing procedures if needed, or the passenger can elect to halt flight operations and hover in place.

EHang Inc. reports that the drone can cruise to an altitude of about 1,600 feet, reaching speeds up to 62 miles per hour, for 25 minutes.

The new drone will go through further enhancements, with a focus on improving passenger experience and adding an optional manual control.

Despite this success, the Ehang 184 AAV will still undergo further improvements.

If the name Ehang rings any bells, that's because it is the same company that partnered with Dubai to develop self-flying drone taxis.

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