Drones have been all the rage in China for a while now, to the point that it’s kind of impossible to escape new drone-oriented products/sales pitches/news headlines. But Chinese manufacturer EHANG is trying to give us what we’re all waiting for, even if we don’t realize it yet: passenger drones.
We’ve mentioned EHANG before, but the company recently released some pretty cinematic test footage of their newest model, the EHANG 184. The helicopter-like vehicle is ridiculously small, and according to EHANG, has the potential to revolutionize mobility. Looking at the video, we kind of believe them.
“Not a pilot? You don’t even have to touch the joystick. Just set your flight path, push a button, tap ‘take off’, and let it take you into the sky,” explains Hu Huazhi, CEO of EHANG.
Following the familiar octo-copter design, the drone is just big enough for one or two passengers. They’ve obviously done huge amounts of testing on it — more than 1,000 flights, with different weather conditions, altitudes, and weight loads. And watching a series of local bigwigs getting into the machine to try it out, their excitement is pretty tangible (ours would be too).
While it’s obviously fun to fly around, the next step for EHANG is making their model into a feasible commercial product. In early stages, it’ll be reserved for the wealthy. But long term, the company wants to make automated passenger drones a locomotive reality for the everyman. We’re looking forward to a future where we can summon a drone on our phone to carry us around in style.