Not every drone is the same, for example this one is more like a vehicle. When Ehang, the Chinese manufacturer started doing business, they specialized in producing small drones with suspended cameras but at the CES 2016 fair in Las Vegas, they introduced something spectacular – an octocopter with a cab for one person. Ehang 184 (the developers call it Personal Flying Vehicle = PFV) was made in the Chinese town of Kuang-chou and it is probably the only drone capable of single person transporting.
Maybe you’re wondering why I have mentioned that it is an octocopter since Ehang 184 only has four arms. It’s called so because each of the folding arms possesses two propellers and the rotors are approximately 2.4 meters far from each other. This device is powered by eight 106 kW electric motors which can be fully charged in three to four hours which provides you a flight lasting up to 23 minutes. The manufacturer states that the maximum speed of this drone is 100 km/h, although the 120 kg carrying capacity might be limiting for some of us. In those 23 minutes, it can go as far as 16 km. Then it’s necessary to land somewhere where it can get recharged. Even though Ehang 184 carries the batteries around, its weight without a passenger is only 200 kg.
This drone is not intended for those who get inspired by aerobatics. All you need to do to take off is to get in and select your final destination in a mobile app which calculates the route using a map software and GPS system. Then you just easily fly because the built-in electronics does all the work for you, including taking off, landing and, of course, the journey itself. You can take pictures, mail or listen to music without any worries. The machine is intended to fly in a low height above sea level, between 300 and 500 meters to be specific but its theoretical maximum is 3,5 km.
But the real issue is the legacy of this machine because it is not a typical helicopter or drone. Even though the manufacturer claims that you don’t need a special license, the appropriate authorities are not ready for this kind of thing. Obviously, we cannot do anything about it but start saving for this new entertaining toy – it’s going to cost approximately 200 000$.