Twelve months ago CES was all abuzz with talk of a drone you could ride in, it was a huge personal transport drone from EHang – but it was just a concept. In 2017, they’re at CES showing off the working model and ready to take on the world.
Make no mistake, this thing is part of a huge change in transport globally. Today, we are tied to two primary forms of transport – road and air, with the sea forming a third critical transport link primarily for cargo.
However air transport is only used for long distance transport for city to city journeys, so the congestion within our cities is ever-increasing as more people use the roads for short trips.
How then could we better utilise the airspace above us to create additional rapid transport solutions? Enter the EHang 184. EHang are a drone company producing products like the Ghostdrone 2.0 VR which is now available in Australia.
The 184 however is something very different. Drawing on the knowledge gained from small consumer drones, EHang hopes to produce a transport system with the 184 controlled centrally in their NASA-like command centre.
And this is no joke either, this thing has flown. Over 200 test flight, some (the smaller portion) have been manned.
It can fly 100 kilometres an hour, has a 25 minute flight time and with that could get you some 30-50kms away.
Why? Well forget for a moment the human transport headlines. That’s cool, but it’s perhaps not the primary opportunity here.
Imagine a use in medical situations. Organ transport. The cost of a traditional helicopter flight is quite high, in time these drone flights will be far more economical, and when range is increased it’s possible a doctor could deliver an organ to an EHang 184 only to see it fly away without anyone on board and head to a waiting recipient at another hospital.
It’s interesting, its big, its exciting and more than a little bit awesome. And I can’t wait to ride in one:)