Ever been stuck in traffic to the point that you virtually cursed every single expletive available in a dictionary? And yet your cab or personal car didn’t even move more than 100 metres from the commencement of your cursing? 😁
Most annoying is when you’ve got a serious and pressing appointment, or perhaps an emergency, and yet a God-forsaken traffic jam decides to ‘manifest’ on a normally free-way – perhaps due to an accident, clumsy driving, road construction or diversion?
Traffic jams can be very infuriating, to say the least, because it can ruin things, ruin a day, and even ruin a life.
Well, I’ve been there. Perhaps not cursing every single expletive in the dictionary; but I think I went nuts, after missing a job interview due to insane traffic caused by an unplanned visit of a top government personality in the city I was to have the interview.
The Ehang 184 Taxi Drone
Well, the issue of traffic jams and its effects could be a thing of the past very soon, if the new drone taxi developed by a top Chinese drone maker goes mainstream at an affordable rate.
In recent times, Drones have been used for various tech surveillances and expeditions. Some drones carry just cameras, others aid detonation of mines and even planting of trees. However, a Chinese start-up company Ethang Corp has developed a flying taxi drone, designed to transport people. Ehang Corp has successfully carried out testing of their new drone technology, by completing over 1,000 test flights.
Back in 2016, Ehang Corp promised the technology of a personal and passenger drone for all occasions on its debut at the CES in Las Vegas. Barely two years after, they seem to have made good on their promise; as the Ehang 184 drone taxi, a one-man automated drone ‘helicopter’ has successfully made several flights with passengers on board.
According to reports, the automated flight software of the Ehang 184 and its sensors are top-notch, and boasts of sophistication that enables it to function in a variety of weather conditions.
Features of the Ehang 184
According to Ehang CEO, Hu Huazhi, the Ehang 184 passenger drones will first target wealthy customers in order to create a customer base. Eventually, the scale of economies would trigger a democratize system of passenger drones making everyone else take to the skies, in the future.
The features of the elegant Ehang 184 drone taxi boasts of the latest in technology. For instance, the drone ‘copter’ taxi is built with a lightweight aluminum frames and carbon fibre panels. It;
- uses eight electrically powered rotors
- can fly for 10 miles at speeds of up to 80 mph or more
- uses the latest battery technology
- boasts of airframe construction
- can cope with a load of 500 pounds
Suffice it to say that the Ehang 184 drone taxi would be a major hit in cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, New York, Shanghai and so many others where traffic on a daily occasion can literarily and figuratively be a “pain in the scrotum.”
Limitations of the Ehang 184
As beautiful as the drone tech is, it major let down is that it meant for just one passenger. So, if you are looking for an air-ride for you and that special someone, for a romantic get-away, for instance on the Valentine’s Day come 14th of February, then the Ehang 184 is definitely not for you.
Honeymooners, wishing for ‘off-land’ romantic experience too, I’m sorry; Ehang 184 would only put you and your spouse asunder.
Another down-side to the compact taxi drone is that is can only carry a person or cargo for 23 minutes – Oops! Talk about an unsatisfactory “quickie”.
A ‘Cheeky’ Plus for the Ehang 184
Despite its short-distanced voyage, the Ehang 184 is seemingly a safe piece of technological innovation. The automated flight system of the drone pulls data from its sensors and combines satellite navigation to fly through the safest path, automatically.
Also, it on a rare occasion that the drone gets damaged or develops a fault mid-air, it is designed to automatically make a controlled descent to a safe land spot.
There are so many drone companies springing up. And the drone transport business is just a few years away from being a global sensation, as the need to avoid the hassles of traffic on a daily, in most populated mega cities has become a top priority for many people.
Of the various passenger drone vehicles, Ehang 184 is definitely a serious contender for the drone transport business. The Airbus Unmanned Aircraft Systems is also a leading contender, as they have also delved deeply into the drone transport business fully.
The advantage of the drone transport system speaks for itself, but the challenge with such technology has always been its pricey nature; as not a lot of medium or low income earners can afford to fly or travel via drones.
However, the technology behind its AI and flight performance can yield further technological revolution. Currently, JD, a Chinese retailer is working to deliver payload of up to one tonne via drone deliveries.
Also, drone technology which has been of immense use already for most national military outfits, the world over, can benefit from taxi drones to transport tactical units, aid distribution of supplies, evacuate personnel, and other forms of logistics.
The issue for you and me when it comes to affordability of this tech, however, remains the price. As of today, no official price tag has been put on the Ehang 184, although it is thought that it would cost between $200,000 and $300,000 (some serious money, right there).
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