The single-rider, human-sized quadcopter could be carrying passengers as early as this summer. The head of Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency announced at the World Government summit, the Chinese EHang 184 passenger drone will begin “regular operations” around the futuristic city in July of 2017.
According to Associated Press reports, the EHang 184 has already been zipping around Dubai’s Burj Al-Arab skyscraper, which happens to have a helipad floating a dizzying 689 feet off the ground. “This is not only a model,” Roads and Transportation chief Mattar al-Tayer said. “We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies.”
The Chinese EHang 184 debuted at the CES 2016 as a Personal Flying Vehicle. It can carry a human with weight up to 100 kg and comes with a separate compartment for a small suitcase. The craft itself weighs 500 pounds.
The creators define the vehicle as,”“the safest, eco-est and smartest low altitude autonomous aerial vehicle.”
The quadcopter will only fly between predetermined points while being piloted and monitored from a remote command center to which it communicates via a 4G Wireless network. The electric-powered EHang 184 can hit speeds of 100 mph, lasting 40-50 kilometers on a single charge. With a typical speed of 62 mph, the drone can complete its journey in about half an hour.
Since the vehicle is autonomous, the passenger only needs to punch in their destination and strap in before take-off. From there, the 184 will communicate via 4G wireless network with a control room on the ground.