Chinese company Ehang published a video with tests of an unmanned “flying taxi” called Ehang 184, in which a real passenger took part. The video with the tests held in Guangzhou, posted on YouTube.
The Verge publication specifies that the Ehang 184 in recent months has made about one thousand experimental flights with passengers on board, including a test with a vertical takeoff to a height of 300 m and a test with the lifting of an additional cargo of 230 kg.
In addition, the test list included a long-distance flight at a distance of 15 km and a high-speed test at a speed of 130 km per hour. Tests were also conducted at different times of the day and under different weather conditions, including fog and extreme heat.
Ehang 184 is a single quadrocopter with an electric power unit, providing autonomy in 23 minutes or 16 km of flight. The electronics are responsible for controlling the device. Ehang 184 is able to independently take off, follow a given route, bypassing obstacles, and also landing. In the event of an abnormal situation, the operator can take the remote control over himself using a special device.
Ehang is going to continue improving the device, which, in particular, should be able to manually control from the cab. In addition, the Chinese are developing a two-seater version of the 184 with a payload of 260 kilograms.
Earlier, the German startup Volocopter, leading the test of the so-called “flying taxi” in Dubai, published a new video from experimental flights. Volocopter VC200 is equipped with 18 rotors, which are powered by the same number of small electric motors. Management that does not require human intervention is carried out with the help of artificial intelligence. At the same time, the device also provides the possibility of manual control.
At the moment, the development of so-called “flying cars” is led by nearly two dozen companies from around the world. In particular, aerospace companies Airbus and Boeing are working on similar projects. In addition, the service “air taxi” is going to launch the company Uber, a special dispatch service for which will create NASA.