Kitty Hawk begins testing Cora air taxi


The company led by Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page returns today with a look at their new design.

Kitty Hawk, which has so far only demonstrated its piloted recreational hovercraft (a luxury item created to help it spur development of its autonomous air taxis) has been testing its autonomous electric passenger aircraft, which resembles a small plane with variable rotors that can go from a vertical alignment for take-off and landing, to a horizontal one for flying like an ordinary plane through the skies.

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.

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You might not think of New Zealand as being on the cutting edge of aviation innovations, but with a new self-flying taxi aiming to achieve regulatory approval, perhaps it's time to rethink that assessment.

Kitty Hawk isn't putting a timeframe around when Cora will be available for public flights. It has a range of about 62 miles right now.

Capacity: Designed for two passengers.

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Larry Page's Kitty Hawk has been testing such a vehicle in New Zealand since late past year and is coming out of stealth mode, the Silicon Valley company announced Monday.

Page's involvement in Kitty Hawk was mostly secret until recently, thanks to a shell company called Zephyr Airworks. The company, which is operating in New Zealand through a company called Zephyr Airworks, has been in discussions with New Zealand regulators for a year and a half, and it hopes to start a commercial flying taxi service in as soon as three years.

Reports surfaced in 2016 that Google co-founder (and now Alphabet CEO) Larry Page had two "flying car" projects in the works, and while we saw the Flyer recreational vehicle unveiled a year ago, today it's time to meet Cora. 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. It looked less like a vehicle than a jet ski with wings.

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