EHANG recently completed test flights for its self-flying passenger drone, the EHANG 184, with about 40 passengers taking a ride in the aircraft.
The Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) can carry a single person at up to 130 km/h and in force 7 typhoon conditions, according to a news release. WANG Dong, deputy mayor of Guangzhou, and EHANG founder and CEO, Huazhi Hu, were among the drone’s passengers during the most recent round of tests.
“Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles,” Hu said, according to the release. “What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first. Now that we’ve successfully tested the EHANG 184, I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us in terms of air mobility.”
Hu founded EHANG in 2014. Since then, more than 150 technical engineers have conducted thousands of test flights, including a vertical climbing test reaching up to 300 m, a loaded test flight carrying about 230 kg, a routed test flight covering 15 km, and a high-speed cruising test that reached 130 km/h.
Further testing and improvements are still needed before the EHANG 184 is ready for prime time. Developers plan to focus on improving the passenger experience and adding an optional manual control. EHANG has already developed and tested a two-seat AAV with a payload of up to 280 kg.
“This is a step-by-step process,” Hu said, “and at EHANG, we have our own road map. When it comes to the development and application of any transformative technology, first the technological innovation makes an impact, then the relevant policies are created and developed. This goes on to push further development of the industry.”