Having your very own flying vehicle is about to go from science fiction to reality very soon, as a Chinese drone maker has revealed their giant quadcopter that can will buzzing off humans through the Dubai skyline as soon as July 2017! The EHang 184 is being dubbed as the world’s first ‘Autonomous Aerial Vehicle’ for transporting people.
George Yan, co-founder of Ehang spoke in an interview with DailyMail.com last year,
‘You know how it feels to sit in a Ferrari? This is 10 times better.’
The rider simply needs to punch in a destination on the touch screen placed in front of the passenger seat or use the companion app, and the drone “auto flies” to the destination autonomously using the multiple independent flight control systems.
The drone was unveiled at CES in Las Vegas last year, and the all-electric life size drone has four arms and uses a total of eight propellers at the end. The four arms can also be folded up so that the capsule can be stored away more easily when not in use.
The head of Dubai’s Roads & Transportation Agency, Mattar al-Tayer, announced about the drone being ready for its first flight in July , which will be monitored remotely by a control room on the ground during its half hour long flight.
The flight is entirely autonomous, and the cockpit is essentially an empty room entailing a smartphone or tablet and a cup holder.
‘I think in all of us there is that little kid in all of us that says I want to fly,’ said Yan. ‘I don’t want to get a pilot license after five or 10 hours of flying, I want to do it right away. We’re making that dream happen. Everything is calculated in the backend to pick the most optimal route for you, so there is no collision with the other drones flying,’ said Yan.
‘On the drone itself we have built pretty sophisticated back up services so if another system fails then another will take over.’
EHang claims that the vehicle is ideal for traveling short-to-medium distances, around 10 miles, and can blast off at around 60 miles per hour. The drone has Vertical Take off and Lands (VTOL) capability, meaning it doesn’t need any elaborate runways.
‘Mass-adoption of the 184 has the potential to streamline congested traffic and dramatically reduce the kinds of accidents associated with any human-operated vehicle,’ the firm claims.
EHang CEO Huazhi Hu remaked,
‘It’s been a lifetime goal of mine to make flight faster, easier and more convenient than ever. The 184 provides a viable solution to the many challenges the transportation industry faces in a safe and energy efficient way. I truly believe that EHang will make a global impact across dozens of industries beyond personal travel. The 184 is evocative of a future we’ve always dreamed of and is primed to alter the very fundamentals of the way we get around.’
If you are concerned about the safety of the mode of transport, the EHang 184 has reinforcements in case of any failure, with multiple backups in its Fail-Safe System that are waiting to take over in case of any mishap or component malfunction.
Adding to the already futuristic design, the EHang 184 AAV flight control systems also boasts multiple sets of sensors that provide real time data to the the command center, which is sort of like the air traffic control for planes, and will be sent in encrypted form with an independent key to ensure seamless operations and security of the pod and its passengers.
The command center will also monitor every 184 in the air 24/7, with the company planning to integrate the pods with existing air traffic controller infrastructure.
Many people are skeptical about the ethical as well as trust issues with a manned UAV, to which Yan replied,
‘If you roll the timeline back to 100 years you will see that when we went from horse and carriage to vehicles people had the same concerns of whether you could trust it to take you from A to B,’ said Yan. If you look out the cars out there and unmanned vehicles, you can understand that we can make these technology breakthrough. You just have to start somewhere.’
‘I think in all of us there is that little kid in all of us that says I want to fly. ‘I don’t want to get a pilot license after five or 10 hours of flying, I want to do it right away. We’re making that dream happen’
What are your thoughts on this incredible flying pod?