Kitty Hawk is testing electric self-flying taxis in New Zealand

Alfred Osborne
March 13, 2018

The design is known as the Cora aircraft, a hybrid vertical take-off, and landing creation.

Fixed wing flight: On a single propeller. In keeping with 21st-century trends, it's also fully electric with a range of about 62 miles.

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. The publication said Kitty Hawk doesn't intend to sell their VTOL planes, but rather operate the commercial network. Mr Page brought in Google-X founder and self-driving auto expert Sebastian Thrun to act as CEO of Kitty Hawk and former Virgin America and Delta CEO Fred Reid to head up Zephyr.

After operating in the Kiwi shadows, Kitty Hawk has finally made its existence public. In fact, he told me he believes that it will leapfrog autonomous cars sometime in the next few years, mostly because when you take to the skies, there are actually fewer problems to solve in terms of building a self-piloting system than when you're locked to the ground, which naturally means you're having to deal with pedestrians, other cars and more, with one less dimension to navigate. We had our aircraft.

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Kitty Hawk, a Silicon Valley aviation company, revealed that it has conducted secret test flights in New Zealand under the cover of a local subsidiary, Zephyr Airworks. Two passengers can ride inside, and The New York Times said the company is developing an app enabling travelers to call a self-flying taxi.

Dr Peter Crabtree of New Zealand's MBIE saw the opportunity immediately: "In New Zealand, we know we can't keep using the same old approaches to meet our future challenges".

"And it would be all-electric, helping to build a sustainable world".

Reports surfaced in 2016 that Google co-founder (and now Alphabet CEO) Larry Page had two "flying car" projects in the works, and while we saw the Flyer recreational vehicle unveiled past year, today it's time to meet Cora.

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