Google co-founder Larry Page tests flying taxis in New Zealand

14 March, 2018, 06:17 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Flying taxi

Kitty Hawk, an autonomous flying taxi firm backed by Alphabet CEO and Google co-founder Larry Page, unveiled its prototype Cora air taxi on Monday.

Both parties are hopeful that this will lead to a network of flying taxis in New Zealand within the next three years.

Now, it would seem that Cora and the company behind it are nearly ready for prime time, as Kitty Hawk and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced that an agreement has been reached that will see Kitty Hawk's portfolio officially tested for certification.

In this handout picture received on March 13, 2018 from New Zealand based aviation company Zephyr Airworks shows a "Cora" electric powered air taxi in flight.

"The dreamers from California met the visionaries from New Zealand", Kitty Hawk said in a press release that lauds New Zealand for having "a government and society with an eye to the horizon".

In an email, Ardern said the decision to work with Kitty Hawk was "about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality". Twelve independent electric lift fans enable the plane-drone hybrid to take off and land vertically like a helicopter, eliminating the need for runways.

According to Kitty Hawk, the Cora has a range of about 60 miles (100 kilometers) on one charge, can travel up to 110 mph (180 km/h), and has an operational altitude between 500 and 3,000 feet (150 to 910 meters).

Multiple propellers make a vehicle safer and more stable, and it also makes it easier to design vehicles with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities.

At the same time, Kitty Hawk had already built a new aircraft, according to US Federal Aviation Administration registration documents.

Countries in the Middle East and Africa have been more willing to allow unmanned flights. The company suggested a long-term plan to bring a commercial air-taxi service to New Zealand.

In November 2017, Boeing bought Aurora Flight Sciences. Considering it took eight years to reach this stage, and that it's in competition with several other air taxi manufacturers like Uber Elevate, Airbus, Ehang and others, it's not likely that information will be made public anytime soon.


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