EHang 184 — PLANET OF THE PODS

THE WORLD'S FIRST ELECTRIC AAV FOR PERSONAL TRAVEL

by Katherine Arteche

SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER THE JETSONS, AMERICA’S CARTOON VISION OF FAMILY LIFE IN SOME DISTANT SPACED-OUT FUTURE. Now a Chinese company has put forth its own future vision of the daily commute, and it looks easy and fun – if it ever makes it into the mainstream. Since the development of the first autopilot concept in 1912, aviation technology has worked on reducing the need for human flight control. EHang’s concept could point the way towards eliminating it once and for all.

Dubbed the EHang 184, the idea behind the concept is to field an all-electric Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) for personal use. Designed to accommodate one passenger, and built with eight propellers and four arms — hence the name ‘184’ — the airborne pod looks like it could become a viable step into the future of personal air travel. Company CEO Huazhi Hu says, “The 184 is evocative of a future we’ve always dreamed of and is primed to alter the very fundamentals of the way we get around.”

Operating on a pre-programmed flight deck system that runs on real-time data, the AAV automatically navigates on its own. Through a smartphone app, passengers key in their destination and launch the EHang 184 into flight. If it all works to plan, no pilot license would be required to manoeuvre the 440-pound machine. The AAV is capable of vertical take-off and landing, eliminating the need for runways. Each pod comes with a built-in air conditioner and 4G Wi-Fi internet.

Even George Jetson and his happy space clan couldn’t have imagined it any better.

THE AIRBORNE POD LOOKS LIKE IT COULD BECOME A VIABLE STEP INTO THE FUTURE OF PERSONAL AIR TRAVEL