Autonomous Flying Taxi Backed By Google Co-Founder Unveiled


Kitty Hawk has been keeping its efforts in New Zealand under wraps by operating its autonomous planes in testing there under the name 'Zephyr Airworks, ' and by doing the work on this passenger plane under the code name "Zee Aero", which is the name of what some had suspected was a separate company backed by Page and led by former airline executive Fred Reid.

What's the difference between a plane and an flying taxi? The nation's government is working with Kitty Hawk to firm up regulatory approval.

Google co-founder Larry Page's aviation start-up has unveiled its first project - new air-taxi prototype named Cora.

Eight years in the making, Cora sports a series of rotors on each wing that grants it the ability to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. It has a 62-mile range and room on board for two passengers.

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Kitty Hawk will operate the flights through Zephyr Airworks, which Kitty Hawk set up in New Zealand in 2016.

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern confirmed the news to the Times, saying the project is "about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality".

Cora can fly between 500 feet to 3,000 feet above ground, has a 36-foot wingspan and can go at a speed of up to 100 miles an hour.

When reached for additional comment Tuesday, a Kitty Hawk spokesperson would only refer us to the company's fact sheet and website. It looked less like a vehicle than a jet ski with wings. Alphabet's own Waymo has been betting on putting autonomous vehicles on public roads, while Uber is hedging its bets with both autonomous driving options and air taxis, though both of those are still years away from being fully commercialized. 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.