World's first passenger drone unveiled by Ehang at CES 2016


CES 2016: Chinese manufacturer Ehang has unveiled the world's first passenger-carrying drone, which will transport individuals through the air without a pilot (+ movie).

Ehang 184 passenger drone

The Ehang 184 drone measures around 1.4 metres high, and features eight propellors held on four arms that can be folded into the vehicle's body for storage.

Ehang 184 passenger drone

According to the manufacturer, which was founded in 2013, users would enter the one-seater vehicle and input their final destination using a 12-inch touch screen located in front of the seat. The vehicle's computer would then calculate the quickest and safest route and transport its passenger there.

Ehang has called the vehicle the "safest, smartest and eco-friendly low-altitude autonomous aerial vehicle aiming on providing medium-short distance transportation solutions".

Ehang 184 passenger drone

The 184's body is composed of a fibre-epoxy composite, while the frame and arms are made from aluminium alloy. The vehicle can remain aloft for up to 23 minutes, and can achieve a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour and an altitude of 3,400 metres. The 184's battery pack takes around four hours to recharge.

Ehang 184 passenger drone

The company says the drone is designed so that even if one propellor fails, the vehicle will still be able to complete its flight. It also incorporates the "Ehangen fail safe system", which means in the event of a malfunction the drone will immediately land in the nearest available area.

There is no passenger override function, which means that anyone can travel in the drone without a pilot's licence. However, this also means the user can't take control in an emergency.

Ehang 184 passenger drone

The design was unveiled at the CES 2016 trade fair in Las Vegas this week. Ehang intends to start selling the drone later in 2016, with a reported price tag between £140,000 and £200,000.

Drones on a smaller scale are being utilised for everything from Amazon deliveries to medical supply transportation.

Ehang 184 passenger drone

Designers have also envisioned other possible future uses for unmanned aerial vehicles, including a fleet of police drones that could patrol London, and to build of bridges and other architectural structures.

  • Jordan

    A flying death trap with no escape… no thanks.

  • The Liberty Disciple

    Honestly, if humanity decides to leave authoritarian development, code, and transportation bureaus alone this would be our future. We’re still using roads that were invented thousands of years ago. It’s time to think in three-dimensional space. Projects like this really excite me even if they are little more than conceptualised ideas.

    • Thomas

      You’re one of those people who thinks we need to “move forward”, but you have no idea how we’re supposed to know when we have arrived.

  • Gianni T

    Until we’re ready to hand over total trust of our own lives to the likes of autonomous robotic surgery, air transport as such will not be socially accepted either.

    The same goes for autonomous cars. It’s all in the same bucket for me. Great work, however. Can’t take away credit for pushing tech boundaries.

  • Dan

    I don’t really understand how you could object to this, obviously this isn’t a final production version, and for decades commercial flights have been 90% done on autopilot.

    Once this technology improves a bit, and with infrastructural assistance from governments, it could be a massive breakthrough in transport, particularly in urban spaces.

  • Francesco

    That means I can use it without knowing how to drive it? Wow, that is so cool. Wait a moment… Is that made in China?

  • Conor

    A flying car that doesn’t run of fossil fuel that anyone can use, this is really exciting… A flying car for the everyman.

    Almost, maybe at half/quarter the price and double the range. Nonetheless, excellent work.

  • disqus_U0qT6IgGC8

    Read: helicopter.