What: At the 2016 CES tech conference in Las Vegas, Ehang tested the Ehang 184, an egg-shaped, single-passenger autonomous quadcopter that can carry up to 220 pounds for 10 miles or about 25 minutes in the air.
The passenger doesn’t fly the craft; he simply sets the flight path into the computer and pushes a button. In case of emergencies, the craft will be piloted remotely by personnel in command centers.
Over the last three years, the company has conducted more than 1,000 test flights, some with humans, in adverse environments, including dense fog, night flying, and typhoon-level winds. It’s also developed and tested a two-seater that can carry up to 617 pounds.
Ehang founder and CEO Huazhi Hu says the company intends to roll-out the vehicle for luxury rides first, with the future goal of providing air taxi service in dense urban environments. US-based regenerative medicine firm Lung Biotechnology has invested in Ehang with the goal of using Ehang’s technology in the future to speed up transportation and double the amount of organs available for transplants. Lung Biotechnology regenerates unusable human organs to be used in emergency transplants.