Ehang performs first manned test flight of air taxi

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Chinese UAV developer Ehang has released a video of manned test flights of its self-flying passenger aircraft, the Ehang 184. 

According to Ehang, the 184 can carry a single person at speeds of up to 130km/h, in force 7 typhoon conditions. 

The company said the manned test flights are the latest in a series of safety tests before it is made available for public use “in the near future”. 

The demonstration flights included a trip with Ehang’s founder and CEO, Huazhi Hu, who said, “What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first. Now that we’ve successfully tested the 184, I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us in terms of air mobility.” 

Ehang has 150 engineers working on testing the 184. The aircraft has passed a vertical climbing test up to 300m, a loaded test flight carrying approximately 230kg, a routed test flight covering 15km, and a high-speed cruising test that reached 130 km/h. 

“We’ve been developing and testing aerial vehicle technology for some time now, and we’re finally at the test flight stage,” Hu said. 

“This is a step-by-step process. When it comes to the development and application of any transformative technology, first the technological innovation makes an impact, then the relevant policies are created and developed. This goes on to push further development of the industry.” 

Ehang’s engineers will now focus on improving passenger experience and on adding an optional manual control. The company has already developed and tested a two-seat air taxi with a payload of up to 280kg.

A video of the flight can be viewed here.

February 6, 2018

 

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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