And I bet you thought drones were toys!
If you are among those that think Drones, or sUAS, are toys, you are living in the past. Released at this year’s CES, EHANG has introduced the EHANG 184, which is the worlds first autonomous aerial vehicle for passenger transport.
I can remember a time in my life, not that long ago in retrospect, when I did not think that I would ever need or want a mobile phone. I figured that absolutely nobody needed the ability to contact me that badly that they could not wait until I returned home. Then came the pager. A device that flash a number across a small screen for me to call at my convenience, or God forbid, the number was followed by 911… which I meant I better call now!
I think it goes without saying that I now have a cell phone. In fact, I have a cell phone that pretty much does everything for me. It has replaced the most rudimentary tasks in life. There used to be a time where friends and neighbors could pick up a book and find my name, my phone number and where I lived. That book would arrive free of charge each year and it was called the phone book. I cannot remember the last time I even looked at a phone book to find a phone number. Now if I want to find a phone number, I have to type in someone’s name, and sift through hundreds of pages trying to sell me background checks and paid services. Finding someone’s phone number is one the few things that technology has failed. Where it has soared is the use of devices like my phone for a personal assistant, and the use of drones to capture imagery that was only available to the extremely wealthy. I remember my father once paying several hundred dollars for an aerial image of our new home when I was a kid. Now Google Earth or Google Maps can get it to you for free. Or if you want it personalized, you can hire me! <wink>
Simply put, drones are not this generation’s toys. They are more and more, remarkably complex and sophisticated instruments that are revolutionizing the way that industry works. Farmers can now quickly and easily predict their current crop yields with drones… and even more importantly, correct them based on the imagery captured. Police and Fire Fighters can use them to capture a first hand account of extremely dangerous situations without having to risk a human life to gain that much needed information. And soon… in this lifetime… we are going to see the flying car that we all thought would be here by the year 2000, thanks to the Jetsons, realized.
A Chinese company called EHANG is daring to make this a reality. Can you imagine a car that is preprogrammed with your daily commute? A car that you could LEGALLY text and drive in? Why not, the car itself is flying above the traffic that everyone is still slogging through. Well, it may not be a reality yet, but EHANG is on to something. It is a creative mind that dared to say “IT IS POSSIBLE” that made Microsoft a global name. It is the foresight of a Steve Jobs that said, the people don’t know what they want, until I give it to them, that made Apple the single most purchased tech name in the world.
I cannot wait to see what comes from EHANG’s flying, autonomous, car… or who it inspires next.