Imagine a world where you can’t blame bumper-to-bumper for the reason you’re an hour late to work; a world where you’d probably never miss a flight or get road rage. EHang, a Chinese drone manufacturer, is doing more than imagining said world; they are creating it.
The manufacturer based in Guangzhou has been granted approval to test an autonomous drone taxi in Nevada. This drone can currently carry a single person for 23 minutes at a speed of up to 63 miles per hour. Ehang is no stranger to passenger-friendly drones. At CES in Las Vegas this past January, 2016, the company unveiled a 84 passenger drone. For this new single-passenger drone Ehang has partnered with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (Goed).
According to EHang, “The State of Nevada, through NIAS, will help guide EHang through the FAA regulatory process with the ultimate goal of achieving safe flight,” said Tom Wilczek, GOED’s Aerospace and Defense Industry Specialist. “EHang’s selection of Nevada to test its people-carrying drone marks a thrilling addition to the innovative companies testing throughout our state to advance the commercial drone industry. I personally look forward to the day when drone taxis are part of Nevada’s transportation system.”
EHang invisions a very simplistic and user-friendly drone taxi system. All the passenger will need to do is input their destination and let the drone take care of the rest. The vehicle will take off vertically and cruise at altitudes up to 3.5km (11,500 feet) using eight propellers on four arms.
“I personally look forward to the day when drone taxis are part of Nevada’s transportation system,” said Wilczek