Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Larry Page's autonomous air taxi 'Cora' flies in New Zealand

Cora can carry two passengers Cora can carry two passengers. Supplied
Sherri Watson | 13 March, 2018, 19:20

The flying auto company led by Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page is breaking cover with a new deal that will see it test its autonomous electric air taxis with the New Zealand government, with the aim of having a commercial network ready to carry passengers within as little as three years, the New York Times reports. The design is known as the Cora aircraft, a hybrid vertical take-off, and landing creation.

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.

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

Capacity: Designed for two passengers.

Trialling the flying taxi service will reportedly take six years, with operations based around the city of Christchurch.

Kitty Hawk had previously tested another flying vehicle prototype called the "Flyer" last April.

"Zephyr Airworks came here because of the ease of doing business in New Zealand, our safety-focused regulatory environment, our culture of ingenuity and our vision for clean technologies and future transport alternatives". New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, in an email to The New York Times, explained that her country wants to become "net carbon zero" by 2050, and the Cora can help make that happen.

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. 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. 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.