Chinese drone company EHang has taken to the sky in South Korea in its latest test, delivering rice before it moves on to human passengers. The test took place in the South Korean capital, Seoul, as a part of its goal to get drones flying by 2025.
The test flight took place over the Han River earlier this week, with many people watching on in awe of the soon-to-be normal sight in front of them.
South Korea has dedicated around $22 million over the next two years to develop its K-drone system.
The drone took off from a riverside park with a swarm of smaller drones sent up to monitor traffic conditions and alert the larger EHang 216 passenger drone of any safety issues. Before the drones took off, a siren rang to make everyone nearby aware of the drones taking off.
To keep the flight within the regulations, no passengers were allowed on board. Instead, 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of rice were placed on the two seats to mimic a load. The drone flew above the river for around 10 minutes at a height of 36 meters (118 feet) and got up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour.
EHang’s Asia business head Bill Choi said that the drones are already being used to deliver goods in China and later added that the drone used in the test can fly for up to 30 minutes of a full charge.
Earlier this year, we shared the news that EHang will be partnering with hotel developer LN Holdings to create a passenger drone hotel for the first time ever. The drones will land on the hotel’s property and take visitors to popular sites around Nansha, Guangzhou, such as the Canton Tower, Beijing Road, and the Pearl River. EHang also announced that it will begin trailing cargo flights using its passenger drones to collect data to see if the drones are a viable means of transport.
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