China tests drone taxis

The first test of EHang 216 autopilot taxi in the US was successful in the presence of about 100 people on 7/1.

EHang 216 flew about 5 minutes above the test track in southern Raleigh, North Carolina. Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, also participated in the trial track. No passengers are allowed to ride in a taxi because under the current regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), automatic aircraft cannot carry people.

EHang 216 is a two-seater taxi that can carry people and cargo weighing 220 - 270 kg. Taxi weighs about 270 kg, powered by electricity and equipped with 16 propellers. EHang 216 is still in development, the Chinese manufacturer said.

"Automated vehicles are what the transport industry is looking forward to," said Jim Trogdon, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Authorities are particularly interested in EHang's project because it is developing a flight space management system that will allow the control of hundreds of taxis flying at the same time.

EHang is one of dozens of companies in the world that flying cars will become a viable means of transportation in urban areas in the future. According to Derrick Xiong, co-founder of EHang, the company has conducted test flights in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.