Like many who attended CES 2016, we were taken with the Ehang 184. If nothing else, the passenger drone was a nice break from all the smartphones and giant TVs. That said, the big quadcopter amounted to little more than a giant paper weight and some goofy composite videos.
Earlier today, however, the company showed off some pretty impressive video of the drone carrying actual humans. In a release tied to the field testing video, the company says it’s tested the drone with 40 passengers, including its CEO Huazhi Hu and Wang Dong, the deputy mayor of Guangzhou, China, where it performed the tests.
In all, the company has conducted “thousands of test flights” by its counts, in the four years or so it has been in existence — but this footage represents some of the first clear evidence of the craft in action.
No word on when the company will actually make the product available. That will likely depend to some degree on the regulation in the countries it plans to sell to. This time last year, Dubai announced plans to use to the craft as a taxi service in an effort to help reduce congestion. Back then, it was optimistically shooting for “as early as [last] summer” for a roll out.
Of course, maximum caution is a good thing when it comes to getting into a tiny craft high above a city. “Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles,” Hu says in the release. “What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first.”