While many companies are racing to perfect autonomous driving technologies, no one really meddles in the “flying drone taxi” category. But now, that may change. The world’s first passenger drone capable of autonomously carrying a person in the air has been given clearance for testing in Nevada.
A Chinese company called EHang, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development have all partnered to put EHang’s drone through testing and regulatory approval.
The drone—the electric Ehang 184 passenger drone—premiered in the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January. Able to carry a passenger for 23 minutes, the company envisions simplicity in the operation of the drone. After setting up the flight plan with a single click, the user can take off for any location, sit, relax and enjoy the flight.
EHang expects to begin testing at the Nevada FAA UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Test Site in 2016, and will work closely with NIAS over the coming months to work through the UAS flight requirements.