An Ehang drone in the test flight. (Xinhua photo/Chen Ji)
A Chinese maker of aerial vehicles, Ehang, based in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong province, conducted test flights of its autonomous aerial vehicle, or AAV, on Tuesday.
The Ehang 184 series is the world's first passenger drone capable of carrying a single person at up to 130 kilometers per hour and in force 7 typhoon conditions, China Daily reported the company as saying.
Hu Huazhi, founder and CEO of Ehang, founded the company in 2014, and since then more than 150 technical engineers have conducted thousands of test flights, including a vertical climbing test reaching up to 300 meters, a load test flight carrying about 230 kilograms, a routed test flight covering 15 km and a high-speed cruising test that reached 130 km/h.
A passenger is on board the Ehang drone in the test flight. (Xinhua photo/Chen Ji)
The Ehang 184 AAV will still see further improvements, according to Hu.
"These manned test flights are just the latest in a series of tests to ensure that the Ehang 184 AAV will be safe and ready for public use in the near future," Hu said.
Public use of passenger drones, also known as drone taxis, has yet to become a reality and fully depends on improvements in technological innovation and implementation of supportive policies, he said.
More emphasis will be placed on improving passenger experience and on adding an optional manual control, giving passengers with piloting experience the choice to operate the vehicle manually, Hu said.