March 24, 2018

Google Co-Founder Debuts Autonomous Flying Taxi 'Cora'

14 March 2018, 06:19 | Rex Hubbard

Flying taxi

Flying taxi

The company is testing a new kind of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi, which is a completely different project from the one seen past year in a viral video of a single-pilot recreational aircraft, which was being tested over water.

Uber is another company that hopes to one day have its own autonomous flying taxi service.

Certifying the vehicle with a regulatory body will be a major undertaking, but if Kitty Hawk and Page succeed, New Zealand could lay out the blueprint for aviation regulators worldwide.

For those who follow the progress in this field - technologists, flight enthusiasts and billionaires seeking to transform the skies - it was thought that Page had been testing flights of a new self-piloting planes only in Northern California; several reports and images revealed the existence of newfangled aircraft past year from a company based there, called Zee Aero, that was associated with Page.

An autonomous airborne vehicle by Kitty Hawk, a company backed by Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page, has been having test flights in New Zealand, the company announced on Tuesday.

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"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you". It uses 12 fans for vertical take-off and landing, and flies between 500 and 300 feet of altitude. Cora can fly up to 110 miles per hour and has a range of 62 miles.

The aircraft is totally electric and takes off from the ground like a helicopter before flying through the air like a plane.

Current regulations in the U.S. would make a Kitty Hawk taxi service impossible. Boeing bought Aurora Flight Sciences, Airbus made an investment in Blade, and Uber is already working on the same idea with Uber Elevate. That had a world class reputation in certification and regulation. 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. Further test will take place this year and a full taxi service in the country will hopefully launch in the next three years.

But developers say it is much quieter, meaning it could transport passengers in urban areas using rooftops and auto parks as landing pads.

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