Ehang shows off a footage of passenger drone’s first flight success
This week Ehang shows off their latest test flights of its Ehang 184 personal Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV). The company plans to improve the passengers experience aboard the drone and an additional manual control. So if a passenger does have a piloting experience, they can operate the AAV manually. It was also developed and tested to carry two passengers at the same time and can carry up to 280kg.
The Ehang 184 was first unveiled at CES 2015. And last year, the they were granted ASC9100C certification. AS9100 is a widely adopted standardized aerospace industry quality management system.
The Ehang 184’s Specs
Earlier this year, the company announced these specs for the Ehang 184:
• Automated flight, through a C&C Center;
• Multiple backups for all flight systems, which would take over seamlessly in the event of failure;
• A fail-safe system that automatically would evaluate the damage. If any components were to malfunction or if there were damage in-flight. And it can also determine whether the AAV should land to ensure passenger safety;
• Multiple independent flight control systems that automatically would plot the fastest and safest route.
• Vertical takeoff and landing;
• 100 percent battery operated;
• Built-in air conditioner
• Encrypted communications systems;
• Tablet console for passengers to input commands;
• LTE network;
• Weight – 260kg;
• Flight speed – 100kph;
• Cruising altitude – 500m;
• Cruising duration above sea level – 25 minutes;
• Battery charging time – 1 hour; and
• Rated payload – 100kg
The Ehang 184 has eight propellers on four arms, with each arm having one prop above and one below.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group said referring to the battery technology of the drone, “The power needed to lift and hold a vehicle in the air massively reduces [a drone’s] effective flying distance.”
He also added, “Until this power problem is addressed, flying drones will be more of a technology showcase than effective transportation. However it will eventually be addressed. The economics of flight will force a reasonably rapid change.”
A lot of drone makers are experimenting with hybrids running in both electricity and gasoline or diesel. Some said that there are problems in battery-powered flight such as the possibility of a catastrophic battery failure.