Now who is ready for more state of the art technology? IT GURUS OF ATLANTA says the word is ready! When speaking of state of the art, we speak of the next level in technological advancements. Earlier this year we spoke about the new drones being pushed by Amazon that are being utilized to make their deliveries more efficient. Soon Amazon will be making deliveries to doorsteps of millions of homes in America once they have been approved by the government to do so. Now with even better drones being built by the hour, why not shape the way we travel while we are at it? Well a company in China is doing just that. The name of the company is called Ehang. Ehang has developed passenger drones which are capable of carrying passengers to and from locations the same way a drone would.
The prototype has been cleared for testing in the state of Nevada. With the possibility of this passenger drone being sold commercially, this is a huge move for the company to get their product in the US. Ehang’s drone is capable of carrying 1 passenger for 23 minutes in any direction the same way a drone would. The passenger drone is capable of traveling at altitudes of 11,500 feet and moving at 63 mph. The drone is completely electric and comprised of 8 propellers, 4 main arms which has upper and lower arms, can carry up to 264lbs, and has the same features of a conventional quadcopter.
Ehang partnered with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (Goed) in order to get approval for the testing in Nevada. The goal of the company is to unleash the possibilities of aerial transportation on a commercial level. The vision of the company is for passengers to input their destination in the drone then allow the drone to complete the trip autonomously. These tests in Nevada are necessary in order for the FAA to approve the Ehang 184 for commercial use. Nevada has been noted as one of the forward-thinking states to allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads such as the Google self-driving car.
The vehicle would not have any controls for the passenger to use. They would simply program their destination in their app, the vehicle would arrive to pick them up, and then take them to their destination. This would be done with very little interaction. As a backup, the company states that it would instill a remote-control center which would take over the vehicle in case any problems arise.
Being that this is cutting edge on the market, Ehang has matched the price with the demand by asking for $200,000 to $300,000 per vehicle. Even with the drone being tested currently, it still has hurdles to overcome such as being able to use the 4G wireless network in order to utilize the GPS, divert from potential hazards, and detect more efficient routes. The current concerns of the FAA is that there are no controls as well as safety concerns which the tests in Nevada will have to overcome.
With the growth of drone usage and autonomous vehicles taking over in companies such as Uber, Lyft, Google self-driving, and now the Ehang 184, it is clear that autonomous vehicles are here to stay. No longer are they a vision of the future or in sci-fi movies. The automation and sophistication of the future is now here in 2017.
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