Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Self-piloted air taxi takes to sky in New Zealand

Cora can carry two passengers Cora can carry two passengers. Supplied
Kayla Schwartz | 13 March, 2018, 19:20

Google cofounder Larry Page's flying taxi project is cleared for take off.

No matter what you call it, electric-powered, autonomous aircraft are starting tests in New Zealand, with the aim of carrying passengers in three years.

In April previous year, Google co-founder Larry Page publicly announced he was building an electric, flying vehicle through a company called Kitty Hawk. 12 independent lift fans power the taxi so it can take off and land much like a helicopter, and doesn't require a runway.

Early specifications show that the fully-autonomous aircraft is capable of reaching a top speed of 110mph and have a flight range of approximately 62 miles.

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Kitty Hawk was rumoured to be pitching a "flying car" prototype as far back as 2016 - when it began pitching the concept to various governments to secure backing.

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 a year ago, today it's time to meet Cora. 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.

"We are offering a pollution free, emissions free vehicle that flies independently", Fred Reid, head of Kitty Hawk operations in New Zealand, said in a video posted on the company's website. Most times you hear about flying cars, the news is coming from the Middle East or other areas that aren't really seen as leaders in terms of aviation regulation. 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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