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