If you want to live in the future then it pays to have a lot of money. Dubai happens to have a lot of cash, which is cool because they’re going to swap some for passenger drones a little later on this year. Assuming, that is, that everything surrounding the Chinese EHang 184 passenger drone rollout goes according to plan.
The Ehang 184 was seen at last year’s CES but we weren’t expecting it to leap into action in such a big hurry. Dubai has other plans and has announced that the drone will be going into service from July this year. That’s… pretty fast, considering.
The announcement was made by their Roads and Transportation Agency at the World Government summit. The agency’s head, Mattar al-Tayer, has said that the drone, which has been seen flying around the city’s Burj Al-Arab building, is more than just a model at this point. He said “We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies.”
This doesn’t mean that they’ve been conducting actual passenger test-flights but it doesn’t mean that they haven’t, either. It is possible for the Ehang to carry at least one passenger (who weighs less than 115kg) a distance of 50km, a trip that should chew up the Chinese drone’s 30-minute flight time so human test subjects… probably won’t die. The drone should be fully autonomous while in action, needing only to be monitored by a control room on the ground. Passengers should just input a destination and they’re off.
While this is all very futuristic (and probably fabulously expensive), we’re still going to believe this when we actually see it. Even then, we’re going to wait for someone else to go first.
Source: via Engadget