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Image credit: EHang

EHang shows footage of its passenger drone in flight

When you can fly it is another matter.
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EHang has been talking about its 184 passenger drone for ages, but there's been a curious absence of footage showing manned flights. Thankfully, it's rectifying that situation: the company has posted a video showing the EHang 184 in action through a series of manned tests. The clip shows both single- and double-seat models going through the paces, including extreme conditions such as typhoon-level winds, intense maneuvers and high-altitude climbs. There's a definite Blade Runner vibe -- EHang's personal vehicle like one of the sci-fi franchise's Spinners, just with rotor blades.

The vehicle does have controls (which are supposed to be simple), but the allure is that you can simply pick a flight path and have the drone do the heavy lifting.

This is a heavily edited clip, of course, so it's only going to portray the EHang 184 in the best possible light. There are undoubtedly flaws and challenges the company isn't showing. However, this does bode well for the company's plans to fly its drone internationally in 2018. This is a real, tangible machine that appears to do what it promises. The main question is whether or not there's enough of an audience. The framework isn't really there for passenger drones right now -- it's still assumed that individual travelers will take a car, or a helicopter if you need to fly.

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