Bruce Highway congestion? Just rise above it

Bruce Highway congestion? Just rise above it

IF you're not short of a dollar, this could be the ultimate way to beat the worst of the Bruce Highway crunch on a Monday morning.

Your own personal autonomous passenger drone.

The Ehang 184 has eight electric motors to power eight propellers for a vertical take-off.

If you're game, and weigh less than 100kg, it can cruise above the highway at speeds of 100kmh.

But there is currently one big catch.

It can only cover 30 to 50km from a single charge.

And it takes two hours to recharge.

Chinese unmanned aerial vehicle firm Ehang first unveiled the Ehang 184 at the huge Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las last year.

Since then, news.com.au reports the personal transport drone has now flown more than 200 tests, both with and without pilots.

Ehang 184 doing a vertical take-off test.
Ehang 184 doing a vertical take-off test.

Co-founder Derrick Xiong said the Ehang 184 was being tested to offer an automated passenger drone that required no licence or previous flying experience.

"Everything is operated from a command centre, which has engineers able to control drones wherever they are in the world," he told news.com.au

"Nothing will be limited by distance, with the drone will sending information of flight paths and live video directly back to the command centre so we know what is going on at all times."

Mr Xiong said the Ehang 184 had been fitted with a barometer and sensors to monitor any faults or unexpected objects with the flight path.

"If anything goes wrong, the command centre will be made aware and our engineers will communicate with the passenger inside the drone," he said.

CATCH UP WITH OUR COVERAGE OF CES 2017 HERE

The company is in the process of applying for air certificates, which could take some time given the nature of the project.

Mr Xiong added the company was also working to improve the flight times and battery life of the personal autonomous passenger drone before launch.

If not made for commercial use, the personal drone could be a good fit for search and rescue missions.
The Ehang 184 won't come cheap, with the product expected to cost between $A270,000 to $A370,000.