We previously reported on the Y6S drone passenger test flights set for this year in London; now, two more companies have started testing passenger drones, too. Ehang 184 passenger drones, created by the Chinese company Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science & Technology Co., Ltd., and Vahana, Airbus’ passenger drone project, both hit the skies.
Ehang 184 had a successful public test flight –that is, after more than 1,000 test flights prior to the public test. Those prior tests included stress testing variables that could lead to potential failure (e.g. battery redundancy, carrying 500 lbs., and inclement weather conditions) so that they could ensure that passengers will be safe during flights. Ehang 184 has a 23-minute flight time and a 10-mile max distance.
Vahana only left the ground for 53 seconds and reached an altitude of only 16 feet, but the test marked Airbus’ entrance into the passenger drone world. This drone has a fixed-wing and multi-rotor frame and is expected to conduct forward flight tests very soon.
While both of these companies are a little behind Intel, which boasts an 18-rotor air taxi prototype called the Volocopter with a flight time of 30 minutes and a maximum range of 17 miles with a maiden flight in Dubai last year, Airbus and Ehang are certainly part of the race for full-scale drone taxi service and that race is far from over.