One of the reasons I love CES is the surprise discoveries you make just walking the show floor. One such discovery for me was the EHANG 184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle. EHANG is a UAV company with offices in China, The United States, and Europe. They have products being sold in 70 different countries globally.
This was originally introduced at CES 2016 and was on display again this year. I was fascinated with the concept of the EHANG 184 AAV’s approach to personal transportation. As well as the working model on the show floor. This is basically a one seat manned drone that flies and lands itself. You basically enter your destination in Google Maps and go.
The company claims this is the safest low altitude autonomous vehicle and it is eco-friendly. This vehicle is designed for medium to short trips. The 184 AAV is 100% green electric. From what I’ve read it has redundant systems so if one system experiences an anomaly, the other takes over. Once the flight plan is entered the passenger only needs to know two commands, “Take Off” and “Land”. This vehicle does not require professional pilot training.
Specs and Features
- Net Weight: 441 pounds (200 kg)
- Net Height: 4.92 Feet (1.5 meter)
- Maximum Power Output: 106 kw (eight motors)
- Folded Span: 5.25 feet (1.6 meter)
- Flight duration at sea level: approximately 23 minutes
- Load capacity: 220 pounds (100 kg)
- Charging: Trickle charge 4 hours / Fast charge 2 hours
- Battery 14.4 kWh LiPo
- Most Economic Flight Height: Differentiated based on environment
- Structure: materials: Composite material with carbon fiber and epoxy and Aerial aluminum Alloy
- 1 Seat
- 12-inch control pad
- Air Condition enabled
- 4G Internet Connection
- Mobile Application Remote Control
- Trunk: Fits one 16” backpack
- Dual color reading light
- Exterior color light: optional
- Arm lights: 4 (Red front, Green back)
- Signal Light: Flash Airline Light
- 1 Downward facing video camera
- Illumination: Head light, inclined light
- Charging port: 96 V EHANG Standard
Approval and Regulations
The EHANG 184 AAV is in limited use in China at this time. It will begin testing in Nevada later this year. NIAS (Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems) will help EHang test and further develop the EHANG 184 AAV by developing test criteria to prove the aircraft’s worthiness to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). At this writing, I have no date when testing will actually occur. FAA regulations for commercial drone flight, have been released but they cover unmanned drones. Will have to see how the manned, non-piloted version plays out.
EHANG is also working to change the way organs are transported in the U.S’ by ferrying them by drone. A collaboration with Lung Biotechnology PBC exists. A future purchase of up to 1,000 units of an advanced version of the 184 has been discussed. This is for the purpose of automating delivery of organs for transplant surgery.
This is what I saw at CES:
This is an in-flight video of the EHANG 184 AAV. Cool stuff indeed.