Testing of world-first self-piloted air taxi in Canterbury

Testing of world-first self-piloted air taxi in Canterbury

Testing of world-first self-piloted air taxi in Canterbury

The company Kitty Hawk, which operates as Zephyr Airworks in New Zealand, showed off the self-piloted electric aircraft, which looks like a cross between an aeroplane and a drone.

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 previous year, today it's time to meet Cora. The Cora aircraft is a self-flying vehicle with 12 rotor blades which allow it to take off and land vertically.

The prototype Cora is all-electric, can carry two passengers, and flies between 500 and 3,000 feet above the ground. Small and effective, the Cora features a range of around 62 miles on a single charge.

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.

The airport company has been in discussions with the American company for some time now, supporting its search for a suitable test space for the autonomous air taxi, known as Cora.

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"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.

Kitty Hawk's idea is to build a network of self-flying air taxis. It's been testing the vehicles through a local operator called Zephyr Airworks, and Cora has an "experimental airworthiness certificate" from both New Zealand and USA aviation authorities.

"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you".

The company has secretly been testing their "flying cars" since October 2017 in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. Therefore, Cora has no need for a runway.

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