Chinese drone company EHang has revealed the first personal autonomous aerial vehicle that could allow everyday flight over short-to-medium distances.
A working prototype of the EHang 184 has already been demonstrated, and it will allow its owners to be able to travel automatically by entering their intended destination into an accompanying smartphone app.
The vehicle’s fully automated navigation, made possible by its real-time flight command centre, should mean that passengers have no need for a pilot's licence.
The flight-control systems have multiple sets of sensors that provide a constant stream of real-time data and passengers can elect to halt flight and hover in the air with just one click in the event of an emergency.
The EHang 184, which is entirely battery powered, has built in reinforcements for all flight systems, so that in the event of component failure, backups are in place to maintain flight stability.
"It's been a lifetime goal of mine to make flight faster, easier and more convenient than ever. The 184 provides a viable solution to the many challenges the transportation industry faces in a safe and energy efficient way," said EHang CEO Huazhi Hu.
"I truly believe that EHang will make a global impact across dozens of industries beyond personal travel. 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."
The vehicle will reportedly cost between $200,000 and $300,000, and is planned to be commercially available sometime in 2016.