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New drone can carry a passenger, fly on batteries

A China-based drone company has introduced a battery-powered, auto-piloted manned aircraft that can hold a single passenger.

The company Ehang, which has offices in China, California and Germany, features a line of small, unmanned drone cameras. Their newest product, however — the Ehang 184 — is described as an “autonomous aerial vehicle” (AAV), a “medium-short distance communication and transportation solution.”

It flies using four pairs of stacked propellers and a set of batteries. Once its passenger inputs a destination, the vehicle takes off, flies and lands on its own — all monitored in a command center. A video featuring the aircraft states that its range is 40 to 50 kilometers, equivalent to about 25 to 31 miles.

On Ehang’s website, a motto is listed: “Let humankind fly freely like a bird.”

They’re not kidding.

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