Kitty Hawk reveals new Cora air taxi

Aircraft

Aircraft

"With New Zealand's internationally respected aviation certification processes, and the country's first on-road testing of a fully autonomous electric vehicle, the South Island is the obvious place to test Cora", he says. 12 independent lift fans power the taxi so it can take off and land much like a helicopter, and doesn't require a runway. It has a 62-mile range and room on board for two passengers. The air taxi looks like a small single-seater plane, but then you notice the wings are covered in a dozen small propellers and there's a surprising lack of noise on take-off.

The aircraft has been developed by Kitty Hawk, which is run by Sebastian Thrun, who previously led the development of Google's self-driving cars as director of Google X.

Kitty Hawk isn't putting a timeframe around when Cora will be available for public flights.

The next phase of prototype testing is being carried out in New Zealand.

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. They've found a collaborator in New Zealand; prime minister Jacinda Ardern told The New York Times, "We've got an ambitious target in New Zealand of being net carbon zero by 2050...exciting projects like this are part of how we make that happen".

Page's involvement in Kitty Hawk was mostly secret until recently, thanks to a shell company called Zephyr Airworks.

"The dreamers from California met the visionaries from New Zealand", Kitty Hawk said in a press release that lauds New Zealand for having "a government and society with an eye to the horizon". 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. Flying cars are also proving to be big hits at auto shows - Airbus and Audi unveiled a concept at this year's Geneva Motor Show, alongside the Pal-V Liberty autogyro.

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