Autonomous flying taxi firm, backed by Google co-founder, unveils first plane

  • Autonomous flying taxi firm, backed by Google co-founder, unveils first plane

Autonomous flying taxi firm, backed by Google co-founder, unveils first plane

After using a company called Zephyr Airworks to hide the Cora during testing, Kitty Hawk came out of the shadows to reveal it'll start an approvals process to launch the aircraft in New Zealand.

According to Kitty Hawk, the Cora has a range of about 60 miles (100 kilometers) on one charge, can travel up to 110 mph (180 km/h), and has an operational altitude between 500 and 3,000 feet (150 to 910 meters).

"We saw Cora's potential as a sustainable, efficient and transformative technology that can enrich people's lives, not only in New Zealand, but ultimately the whole world", said Peter Crabtree from the country's business and innovation ministry. "Finally, the dreamers from California met the visionaries from New Zealand", the statement read somewhat breathlessly.

When reached for additional comment Tuesday, a Kitty Hawk spokesperson would only refer this news organization to the company's fact sheet and website.

With Cora, Kitty Hawk's real vision comes through - the startup aims to build, own and operate a fleet of these as an on-demand self-flying taxi service, beginning commercial operations in as few as three years' time.

Larry Page, the cofounder of Google and CEO of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG,GOOGL), is showing off his new autonomous flying taxi "Cora".

Kitty Hawk's Cora Air Taxi
Richard Lord Kitty Hawk

Recent technologies such as electric motors and batteries, autonomous navigation systems and consumer drones have led to companies such as Uber and Airbus to invest in vehicles that can fly themselves.

Watch Google co-founder's Kitty Hawk Cora electric aircraft in flight originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:35:00 EDT. But those countries have never been seen as models for aviation regulators in the rest of the developed world.

Whilst other air-taxi projects are planning on flying in congested cities such as Dallas and Dubai, in the case of UberAir, Kitty Hawk will be flying first in the relatively New Zealand. It also says the firm is working with the New Zealand government on the rollout of a "commercial air taxi service".

It released footage of one of those vehicles in flight, billing itas a cross between the Delorean from "Back to the Future" and "The Jetsons" hovercar.

Despite the apparent rivalry between the companies, Bloomberg reported that Page has in fact been putting money into both Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk.