Flying to work, anyone?
A drone big enough to carry human passengers was demonstrated in Guangzhou, China this week, and company behind it, eHang, hopes it will eventually work like the flying taxis promised by science fiction.
According ot the company's site, the eHang 216 has a top speed of 80 miles per hour and is autonomous, receiving signals via a 4G or 5G phone network from a command and control center.
It can carry up to 485 pounds and has a range of up to 20 miles.
The craft is fully powered by electricity and can be charged in one hour, eHang says. It does not need a runway to take off.
The company claims the autonomous flight technology eliminates any chance of failure caused by human error.
“Without any concern about controlling or operating the aircraft, the passengers can just sit and enjoy the journey," eHang explains.
“We are thrilled that the CAAC [Civil Aviation Administration of China] and EHang took the lead on the world’s first commercial pilot operation approval of passenger-grade AAVs for air logistics uses. This approval is of great significance," said EHang Founder, Chairman and CEO Hu Huazhi in a statement.
“For EHang, it enables us to enhance our first-mover advantage and accelerate the commercialization of AAV technology and air mobility solutions for logistics," he added.