This post is part of the series, SmallBusiness.com Guide to Business Gadgets: The newly invented or conceptual devices that are called everything from gadget to gizmo to "what were they thinking?" You can browse other posts in the series below.
Each year on SmallBusiness.com, we declare this week “Small Business Gadget Week,” because a sub-group of products launched at the annual Consumer Electronics Show are as much a “small business” product as a “consumer” one. It’s all about how you use technology, not the technology itself. Get ready for several posts that will tickle your gizmo bone.
Product: Ehang 184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle
Availability: A long time from now
On SmallBusiness.com, we regularly update the progress of commercial drones — devices that are close to a tipping point in many industries (as long as they are far away from urban centers). So when Ehang, a Chinese drone company, unveiled the Ehang 184, a self-flying, personal “autonomous aerial vehicle,” which, in english, means, “a 440-lb. pilotless robotic eight-rotor drone that carries a passenger,” we were happy to declare it the Friday selection for our annual Small Business Gadget week. The Ehang 184 is designed to carry a person up to 10 miles per charge. Don’t know how to pilot a helicopter? No problem: it flies itself after you chose your destination on an iPad. (Really, what could go wrong with that?) All that, for $200,000 or so. If it sounds too good to be true, it surely will be. Why? The FAA likes at least one person in an aircraft to be a pilot because someone needs to know how to avoid all those drones that will be delivering Amazon packages. Oh, and did we mention $200,000.
Below, see photos and video provided by Ehang