While drone manufacturers celebrated huge sales during the fourth quarter of 2015, another company stole the headlines by showcasing its latest invention at the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas.
At the event, drone maker Ehang, Inc., a Chinese-based company, unveiled the first drone in the world capable of carrying a human passenger, this according to a story at Phys.org. The drone, Ehang 184, is an electric-powered drone that can be fully charged in two hours, carry up to 220 pounds, and fly for 23 minutes at sea level.
The drone, which resembles a small helicopter but with four doubled propellers spinning parallel to the ground, features a one-person cabin, air conditioning, and a reading light. It is designed to fly about 1,000 to 1,650 feet off the ground with a maximum altitude of 11,500 feet and top speed of 63 miles per hour and can be controlled by a single click – “Take Off” or “Land” – on a Microsoft Surface tablet. Additionally, it can fit in a single parking space when its propellers are folded up.
Representatives from Ehang Inc. say they have performed over 100 test flights at low altitudes, including several with a person on board. The drones’ multiple propellers make the device safer than a regular helicopter, they say, and although it does not feature backup controls, the company plans to build a remote control center to take over the vehicle to ensure it lands safely.
Ehang, Inc. hopes to sell the device for $200,000 to 300,000 beginning this year.
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