It’s Here, It’s Real: Ehang Signs Deal to Test Passenger Drone

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The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) have partnered with Chinese drone manufacturer EHang to test the passenger drone at Nevada’s FAA UAS Test Site.

EHang introduced the passenger drone at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.  The EHang 184, an autonomous aerial vehicle capable of carrying passengers.

“The State of Nevada, through NIAS, will help guide EHang through the FAA regulatory process with the ultimate goal of achieving safe flight,” said Tom Wilczek, GOED’s Aerospace and Defense Industry Specialist. “EHang’s selection of Nevada to test its people-carrying drone marks a thrilling addition to the innovative companies testing throughout our state to advance the commercial drone industry. I personally look forward to the day when drone taxis are part of Nevada’s transportation system.”

“Partnering with GOED and NIAS is a big step for EHang 184 to move forward to government regulatory approval of the unprecedented innovation in US and globally, which will lay the foundation for its commercialization and building up the aerial transportation ecosystem in the future”, said Huazhi Hu, Founder and CEO of EHang.

Ehang hopes to begin testing later this year.  The company will have to work to prove safety to the FAA before regulations will allow for widespread use of the passenger drone.  Companies such as Uber are anticipating passenger drones as a future of transportation: the company recently announced that they are investing heavily in passenger drone research.

The manufacturer says that the passenger drone would allow riders to input a destination, after which the drone would fly autonomously to the specified location.  The drone can travel at about 65 mph at an altitude of about 11,000 feet, and is meant for short rides of under 10 miles.

EHang received $42 million in venture capital funding last year, and also manufactures the popular Ghostdrone.

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