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Hang Time

This summer, EHang self-flying air taxis will hit the skies of Dubai.


There are so many ways to get around town, from car services to subway systems to water taxis. And now, thanks to Chinese drone manufacturer EHang, there are autonomous aerial vehicles that are capable of carrying one passenger up to 220 pounds.

The EHang 184 was introduced at CES in Las Vegas, with the company already boasting succssful completion of 100 manned test flights. Now, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wants 25 percent of all passenger trips to be made in driverless vehicles by 2030, and, as a result, Dubai’s Road & Transportation Agency plans to start using EHang 184 in July, according to an article in Fortune.

EHang 184 is made of reinforced composite material that stands 5 feet tall and weighs 440 pounds. It is a four-armed, eight-rotor drone that has a cruising duration of about 25 minutes at an average speed of 62 miles per hour. Travel is controlled by an on-board tablet inside the cockpit, which the passenger uses to drop in the coordinates of the final destination.

The company is promoting EHang 184 as a safe alternative to helicopters, and, given the technology advances in this autonomous aerial vehicle, that could be true. But I’m looking at the specs of this thing and there’s one thing I don’t see that I think is an important feature: a parachute.

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