Larry Page's Air Taxi Takes Flight

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 13, 2018

Kitty Hawk's intent is to have the aircraft certified for fully autonomous operation by launch, which it hopes will happen sometime around 2021 once it completes testing with New Zealand, its first partner on the government and regulatory side.

The firm's two-person craft, called Cora, is a 12-rotor plane-drone hybrid that can take off vertically like a drone, but then uses a propeller at the back to fly at up to 110 miles an hour for around 62 miles at a time.

You can watch the air taxi in action on YouTube.

Kitty Hawk isn't putting a timeframe around when Cora will be available for public flights. The all-electric Cora flies autonomously up to 914 metres (3,000ft) above ground, has a wingspan of 11 metres, and has been eight years in the making. "Cora has the potential to transform spaces like rooftops and parking lots into places to take off right from your neighbourhood".

Kitty Hawk is personally financed by Page and is being run by former Google autonomous auto director Sebastian Thrun. The company is trying to beat Uber and others to launching an autonomous flying taxi service.

Kitty Hawk previously revealed its "Flyer" aircraft, which was more like a hovercraft crossed with a jet ski, and which it intends to sell to individuals in the recreational vehicle market.

"Let's not forget this part of the world is where Richard Pearse first pioneered flying, something we honour with a sculpture within our airport terminal, so it's great to see this bold thinking being revealed here too", he says.

The startup, Kitty Hawk, envisages that flying cars will be the new norm and is financed by Google cofounder Larry Page and led by ex-Google scientist Sebastian Thrun. You'd think such a flying vehicle would require a pilot's license to operate, but that's not the case.

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