Chinese drone maker Ehang turned lots of heads at CES 2016 when it unveiled 184, a personal autonomous aerial vehicle meant for short- to medium-distance transportation. It’s such an ambitious concept that it’s easy to forget about or even dismiss entirely but Ehang has demonstrated its commitment to the 184.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), a nonprofit group sponsored by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, has agreed to work with Ehang to help develop and test the 184.
Mark Barker, the institute’s business development director, said he and Tom Wilczek, a defense aerospace industry representative at the governor's office, first met Ehang at CES. Company CEO George Yan expressed interest in working with the nonprofit, a move that’ll expand its reach into the US.
Ehang will initially send a small group to Nevada. Specifically, Baker said they will develop test criteria that will help Ehang prove aircraft worthiness to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The vehicle gets its name from having one passenger, eight propellers and four arms. Ehang said at CES that its flying machine generates 142 horsepower and can provide up to 23 minutes of flight time at sea level. That’s sufficient to transport a single passenger about 10 miles at an average speed of 62 mph, Ehang said.
Although a detailed timeline hasn’t yet been established, Ehang expects to begin testing later this year in Nevada.