This article was originally published in The Drone Mag’s April/May 2016 issue.
Just a few weeks before the magazine you’re holding in your hands was put together, EHang unveiled a prototype passenger drone at CES and it immediately went viral on the internet. Sure we’ve seen a number of videos of home built passenger type drones awkwardly hovering over in the air, sometimes over water and some with the passenger danger- ously close to a ridiculous number of spin- ning blades, but EHang’s 184 is different.
EHang is more commonly known for their GhostDrone that allows for a variety of drone functions from video to immersive FPV expe- riences. It appears GhostDone is just a defining element for the EHang brand while they have been developing the 184 for several years now. Video of the evolution of the 184 and the founder’s background can be found on ehang.com and what is shown portrays a company with determination to bring safe autonomous flight directly to consumers.
The name 184 stands for the one person, eight rotors and the four arms that make up the drone. Once the pilot is inside, they can plan and plot their flight similar to how many hobby grade UAV’s are programmed. The current prototype appears to be flying in the video on its own, but it is unclear if it is carrying a passenger at this time. EHang states the use for the 184 is short distance flight, about 10 miles and boasts speeds up to 60 mph. So if you have that urge to go get a cup of coffee in town and don’t want to deal with stop signs, the EHang 184 might be the right machine for you. That is, if you have between $200,000 and $300,000 to dish out for the aerial convenience machine.