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News Link • Drones

This people-moving drone has completed more than 1,000 test flights

• By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer

Most drones are small, and carry nothing except cameras. But Ehang Corp, a major Chinese drone maker, has been busy testing its Ehang 184 flying taxis, a drone designed to transport people. It's now completed more 1,000 test flights with and without passengers, as CNN reports.

Ehang burst onto the international scene at CES in Las Vegas in 2016, promising a dream of personal robotic transportation by drone. Now it looks like it's made good on its promise, with more tests to follow in Dubai and Las Vegas. Importantly, the 1,000-plus flights have involved a broad range of conditions, including traveling in inclement conditions.

With eight electrically-powered rotors, the Ehang 184 can fly for 10 miles at speeds of up to 80 mph or more—a handy way to hypothetically beat the traffic to airports in places like New York, Las Vegas, and Shanghai. One hang-up: it's meant for just one passenger, though it's been stress-tested with a payload of 500 pounds. Another hang-up: it can only carry people and cargo for 23 minutes.

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