Larry Page's Kitty Hawk reveals autonomous flying taxis

Christchurch testing ground for world's first self-piloted electric air taxi

Say Hello to Cora, the New Flying Taxi From a Secretive Startup Funded by Google's Larry Page

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

New Zealand's Central Aviation Authority has the respect of the worldwide regulatory community.

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. Cora will use 12 lift rotors on the wings to take off and land vertically and will use a single propeller to power its fixed-wing flight. Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun (who previously ran Google's self-driving auto project), said the first thing officials asked was how they could make the regulatory process faster for Kitty Hawk.

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"Cora", developed by Larry Page's Kitty Hawk company, is an electric aircraft intended for use as part of a transportation service instead of sale to individual users.

The company, known as Kitty Hawk and run by Sebastian Thrun, who helped start Google's autonomous vehicle unit as the director of Google X, has been testing a new kind of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi.

"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you".

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Meet "Cora", the fully autonomous electric "air taxi" that flies like a helicopter at speeds of up to 177 kilometers per hour (110 miles per hour), transporting up to two people between 150 meters and 915 meters (500 and 3,000 feet) above ground.

This time around, though, Kitty Hawk's ambitions are bigger. The design is known as the Cora aircraft, a hybrid vertical take-off, and landing creation.

Countries in the Middle East and Africa have been more willing to allow unmanned flights. Boeing bought Aurora Flight Sciences, Airbus made an investment in Blade, and Uber is already working on the same idea with Uber Elevate. The fact sheet mentions that Cora has an experimental permit with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and New Zealand regulators, but only that the company is looking forward to sharing Cora with the New Zealand public.

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In other words, unless you live in New Zealand, don't necessarily count on climbing into an autonomous air taxi anytime soon.

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