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Passenger-Carrying EHang 184 Drone Unveiled At CES

Imagine dressing up for work, grabbing your lunch, and then hopping in a drone for your commute. Chinese company EHang envisions something like that.
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Imagine dressing for work, grabbing your lunch, and then hopping in a drone for your commute.

That is what Chinese company EHang imagines life could be like with its man-sized drone — although the company is light so far on evidence that it can actually pull it off.

The EHang 184 was unveiled Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Conference in Las Vegas. Weighing in at 441 pounds, the drone can supposedly carry a 220-pound person for 23 minutes, which would take them about 10 miles.

There is no need to manually pilot the drone. The passenger would simply enter a location in an app and let the EHang 184 do the rest.

Powered by electricity, the EHang 184 flies with the help of four arms mounted with eight propellers. Sound fun? Too bad. They're not for sale yet, and they're certainly not cleared to fly by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The "low altitude autonomous aerial vehicle," as EHang calls it, is built to detect obstacles. Theoretically, it could take a passenger wherever he or she wanted to go, and then land vertically to drop them off, but right now flight paths for planes and helicopters are pretty strict and it's not clear how a manned drone would fit in with them.

With no footage of a human actually flying around inside of the EHang 184, it seems like the dream of taking a drone to work isn't going to be realized anytime soon. It sure looks cool, though.