The weird part of CES includes this human-transporting drone from Ehang

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

CES is similar to YouTube in that if you stick around long enough and aren't careful, you can end up in the weird part. This year, that weird section includes a Chinese drone company called Ehang that likely agrees with the quote that if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

Ehang at CES unveiled a drone called 184. What makes this drone different from all the others at this year's trade show is the fact that it's meant to transport humans. Scared yet?

Ehang describes 184 as an autonomous aerial vehicle designed as a short- to medium-distance transportation solution. The machine packs what appears to be eight rotors (two in each corner) and generates 142 horsepower which Ehang says provides 23 minutes of flight time at sea level, enough to take a single passenger about 10 miles at an average speed of 62 mph.

As PCWorld points out, the company claims its human drone is operated through a mobile app. If anything happens to the electric motor during flight, there are said to be multiple backups. Furthermore, the copter can reportedly land on its own if need-be.

Because the human drone hasn't been tested by the FAA yet, the company was unable to demo the product at CES.

A bit skeptical? You're not alone as The Verge said a video provided to them never actually showed the drone in flight with a human inside. Its marketing material also raises some eyebrows, such as whether or not a remote pilot could actually take over in the event of an onboard emergency.

Pricing and availability hasn't been revealed although the company told PCWorld it'll likely retail for between $200,000 and $300,000... assuming of course that it somehow gains approval from the FAA.

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TechSpot Addict
If it can carry a pilot then its not a drone.
Well, there is a term already coined for aircraft controlled with on board electronics, "fly by wire". By those standards, an F-16 "Falcon" is a "drone".

Look ma, no hands!

OK granted, the air force won't let you fly one of those with your iPad.
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TechSpot Addict
I'm assuming the human being transported is not considered a pilot. So drone is still a legit term, since it does all the flying automated. The person would then be considered cargo.
OK then, what is the control(?) column with the tablet attached to it for? So the passenger can check his or her Facebook account? I mean the flight lasts a whole 20+ minutes. We wouldn't want them to be out of touch with their "friends", for what amounts to practically an eternity in social networking time standards.

These damned Chinese have gotten to the point where they think Americans are stupid enough to buy anything.

The sad part is, they're about 99 44/100% right...:D
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TechSpot Paladin
In 50 years while not being practical it will be used as a leisure way of transport. Maybe not like cars today but at least when you are on holiday and what not.


TS Rookie
That is absolutely the coolest thing I've seen in a long time!
I want one!!!
I agree, this looks great.
not convinced by some of the design choices though. Placing the propellers so low is a bad idea imo, would be far too easy for them to collide with things on the ground. Also you wouldn't want to climb out before they've stopped spinning as it could get pretty messy. They should place them above the cockpit.
In a few years time though things like this could really take off (pardon the pun). Larger versions could carry 4, 6, or 8 people on short trips. Not for general commuting but as someone else said for leasure use. Pleasure trips, site seeing, flying from a main land to an close off shore island etc.
But not with this design as it is though shredding anything underneath it.