Kitty Hawk's autonomous air taxi lifts off in New Zealand

Bryan Strickland
March 14, 2018

In Cora's branding, Kitty Hawk ditched the phrase "flying car" and replaced it with "air taxi".

Due to its relative isolation from other nations and long stretches of uninhabited land, New Zealand is the flawless testing ground for Kitty Hawk to prove its tech works without getting in the way of commercial planes or endangering people on the ground.

A machine that takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane is the design behind Cora, an autonomous vehicle that's taking flight from the Larry Page-backed Kitty Hawk, a flying auto company.

Known as Cora, the electric aircraft has a dozen small lift rotors on its wings, making it capable of vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter. Page's involvement with a California entity called Zee Airworks on similar grounds has been a bit less of a secret, though Zee Airworks has yet to lay anything out publicly in the same manner that Kitty Hawk has.

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".

According to Kitty Hawk's website, Cora is created to help you save time by "soaring over traffic", and bring the airport to you.

The self-flying plane can travel at speeds up to 110 miles per hour and fly 3,000 feet off the ground, the Cora website states.

Included in the company's fact sheet about Cora: what the air taxi will do if its propellers fail in midair.

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A company funded by Google co-founder Larry Page has been secretly testing what it hopes to be the future of personal travel: a self-driving "air taxi".

It said Cora took eight years to design but then developers needed a suitable environment to safely test the new technology.

Other countries, mostly in the Middle East and Africa, have been more aggressive about allowing unmanned flights and appear willing to be some of the first places where this technology will be used. But aviation regulators in the rest of the world do not see those countries as models.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has always been viewed as having a thoughtful and safety-conscious regulatory regime.

In November 2017, Boeing bought Aurora Flight Sciences.

Developers of the flying taxis say that they're much quieter than helicopters.

It is expected that a commercial network of flying taxis will be in operation in New Zealand in as soon as three years.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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