News: Fri, Jan 08, 2016 – The Chinese dronemaker Ehang, looking to distinguish itself from the crowd (and rival drone giant DJI), has a new product that brings autonomous driving tech and drones together. It is a single seat, self-driving quadcopter called the Ehang 184. It looks like an oversized drone with a cockpit stuffed in the middle, a flying analog to the 1,000-horsepower autonomous concept beast that Faraday Future unveiled recently.
Company says this Autonomous Aerial Vehicle ‘EHang 184’ …”Marks a New Chapter in Transportation”
An aircraft billed as the “the world’s first electric, personal Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV)” was unveiled by Chinese UAV company EHang at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Wednesday. The company says the aircraft “will achieve humanity’s long-standing dream of easy, everyday flight for short-to-medium distances.”
But don’t get too excited, because the person on board will not actually be flying the aircraft.
The aircraft is essentially a drone large enough to carry a useful load of up to 220 pounds, according to the company. It is fully autonomous, meaning that the person on board is pretty much cargo, with very limited control over the aircraft. The passenger enters his or her destination into a smartphone app, and the aircraft does the rest.
The 184’s fully automated navigation is made possible by EHang’s 24/7, real-time flight command center. The company boasts that passengers have no need for a pilot’s license – they simply sit back and let the drone take them where they want to go. The company calls this first realization of automated flight “a major turning point not only for the transportation industry, but also for a huge swath of other fields such as shipping, medical care and retail.”
“It’s been a lifetime goal of mine to make flight faster, easier and more convenient than ever. The 184 provides a viable solution to the many challenges the transportation industry faces in a safe and energy efficient way,” said Eang CEO Huazhi Hu. “I truly believe that EHang will make a global impact across dozens of industries beyond personal travel. The 184 is evocative of a future we’ve always dreamed of and is primed to alter the very fundamentals of the way we get around.”
The EHang 184, which was named for ‘one’ passenger, ‘eight’ propellers, and ‘four’ arms, is the next wave of innovation from EHang. Having already released a successful consumer product with their Ghost Drone line, EHang is now creating another disruptive and innovative technology to propel us towards the future of solo human transport.
EHang says that automated flight eliminates the most dangerous part of standard modes of transportation: human error. The EHang 184 has built in reinforcements for all flight systems, so that in the unlikely event that a component does fail, multiple backups are already in place to seamlessly take over.
EHang’s independently developed Fail-Safe System is designed to ensures that if any components malfunction, or if there’s damage while the AAV is in-flight (i.e. from a bird), the aircraft will immediately begin taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety. The 184’s Fail-Safe System automatically evaluates the damage and determines whether the AAV will need to land to ensure its passenger’s safety.
The EHang 184 AAV flight control systems have multiple sets of sensors that provide the drone a constant stream of real-time data.
The 184’s communication system was also designed with a safety guarantee: every system is encrypted, and each AAV comes with an independent key.
In the event of an emergency, passengers can elect to halt flight and simply hover in the air with just one click.
The 184 uses multiple independent flight control systems to automatically navigate passengers from point A to point B. These systems combine real-time data collected from sensors throughout the flight and automatically plot the fastest and safest route to carry passengers to their destinations.
The EHang 184 AAV takes off and lands vertically, eliminating the need for runways. Its foldable design solves the logistical and spatial issues that have constrained airplanes and other modes of air-travel from expanding into daily use. Mass-adoption of the 184 has the potential to streamline congested traffic and dramatically reduce the kinds of accidents associated with any human-operated vehicle.
The 184 is 100 percent electric and doesn’t depend on fossil fuels, reducing our reliance on substances that can be environmentally damaging.
EHang is also building an advanced low-altitude flight command center which will be in constant contact with all of its flying vehicles. While the 184 is able to fly during thunderstorms and other extreme weather conditions, the command center can prohibit the AAV from taking off as a precaution.
The aircraft is about five feet tall and weighs 440 pounds. The useful load is set at about 220 pounds, with the maximum output of 106W powered by eight motors. It’s designed to have the capability to carry a single passenger for 23 minutes’ duration flight at sea level at average cruising speed of 53 knots.
The EHang 184 AAV body consists of a cabin for single passenger with a gull-wing door, a trunk and the power system composed of four arms and eight propellers on the bottom. The four arms, when folded, allow the AAV to occupy the same size parking space as consumer cars.
The aircraft is a single-seat design, so “EHang-pooling” is not yet an option. In front of the seat is a tablet console, through which passengers can easily input commands. Additionally, the cabin’s built-in air conditioner automatically adjusts the in-cabin temperature. Complete with 4G Wi-Fi Internet, EHang 184 provides passengers with comfortable and enjoyable riding experiences.
“This first glimpse of the EHang 184 offers just a small sense of its massive potential, even beyond transporting passengers,” the company said in its release. “It promises limitless possibilities and will undoubtedly impact the way we all travel in profound ways.”
TEXT CREDIT: Information courtesy/as seen at: www.aero-news.net
VIDEO CREDIT: Video link above, as published at YouTube