Google Co-Founder Debuts Autonomous Flying Taxi 'Cora'

Aircraft

The company, known as Kitty Hawk and run by Sebastian Thrun, who helped start Google's autonomous auto unit as the director of Google X, has been testing a new kind of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi.

Now, it would seem that Cora and the company behind it are nearly ready for prime time, as Kitty Hawk and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced that an agreement has been reached that will see Kitty Hawk's portfolio officially tested for certification. Just previous year, Dubai said EHang would begin operating an autonomous flying taxi service last July. Cora, what looks to be the first working prototype from Kitty Hawk, is just one of many self-flying machines that are testing their wings.

The idea behind the Cora is to create an autonomous air taxi service using an electric powered craft, that could see parking paces swapped for landing pads.

Trialling the flying taxi service will reportedly take six years, with operations based around the city of Christchurch. It is able is to take off like helicopters do and fly just like a plane and can be as fast as 110 miles per hour.

Imagine starting a network of autonomous air taxis, as Uber is planning to, but long before Uber actually does.

The fruits of his latest labors at Kitty Hawk is Cora, an autonomous and fully electric flying taxi.

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Zephyr CEO Fred Reid said New Zealand is devoted to clean energy.

It hopes to make the vehicles commercially available in New Zealand within three years. It does all this without a trained pilot aboard, navigating through airspace with a combination of self-flying software and human oversight.

But it seems entirely feasible to build aircraft for short-range flights-like the 62-mile range of Kitty Hawk's new airplane. It will allow Kitty Hawk to test its self-flying planes as part of a certification process.

"Unlike a helicopter, Cora is remarkably quiet", Allison said.

"We saw Cora's potential as a sustainable, efficient and transformative technology that can enrich people's lives, not only in New Zealand, but ultimately the whole world", said Peter Crabtree from the country's business and innovation ministry.

Federal Aviation Administration rules would have made it hard to get a project like this off the ground in the United States.

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