Self-Flying Air Taxi Tested in New Zealand

Aircraft

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. It's built to use self-flying software, and uses 12 lift fans for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) like a helicopter, so there's no need for a runway. Small and effective, the Cora features a range of around 62 miles on a single charge.

The air taxi will operate on a ride-sharing program operated by Kitty Hawk's Subsidiary Zephyr Airworks.

Kitty Hawk previously revealed its "Flyer" aircraft, which was more like a hovercraft crossed with a jet ski, and which it intends to sell to individuals in the recreational vehicle market.

The New York Times reports that the firm-a project funded by Larry Page and led by Sebastian Thrun-has been trialling its Cora air taxi in New Zealand.

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Mr Page's wholly owned aviation firm Kitty Hawk - named after the Wright brothers' home town in North Carolina - has unveiled an air-taxi prototype eight-years in the making. With a 36-foot wingspan, the aircraft flies between 500 and 3,000 feet above the ground at around 110 miles per hour.

The company has been pitching the air taxi privately since 2016, finally choosing New Zealand as its R&D and certification location as well as its launch market due to the country's large support of renewable energy and electric vehicles as well as its accommodating airspace regulations.

Several other companies, including Uber and Airbus, are also racing to commercialize flying taxis. The Porsche board member responsible for sales and marketing talked to us at Geneva about a potential flying Porsche, part of the company's Strategy 2025 that looks at how Porsche's sports cars will fit into the future of transportation.

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