Human-Carrying Drone Taxi Gets Approval For Testing In Nevada

Image courtesy of EHang

Flying cars might not yet be within our reach, but there are companies out there working on technology that would let drones ferry around human passengers like flying taxis, so at least that’s something.

A Chinese company called EHang has made a deal with the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) that will allow it to develop a testing program for its autonomous taxi drone (h/t The Verge).

The company wants to test its EHang184, which can carry one person at at ime, at the state’s Federal Aviation Administration-approved UAV test site. It still has to receive actual FAA approval to do so, and Nevada officials have offered to help EHang submit the results to the FAA for that further permission.

The prototype is over four feet tall and has eight propellers, and can carry a single passenger for 23 minutes at 60 mph. It’s still unclear whether the drone will carry a passenger during tests, however.

There’s no override function in the prototype, so if something goes wrong, the user can’t take control. In the event of a malfunction, the drone is designed to land in the nearest available area.

“I personally look forward to the day when drone taxis are part of Nevada’s transportation system,” the institute’s business development director, Mark Barker, told local the Las Vegas Review Journal earlier this week.

EHang says it testing should begin at the FAA-approved site at some point this year.

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