Kitty Hawk reveals new Cora air taxi

Flying taxi

A new all-electric autonomous aircraft built by the startup Kitty Hawk has been in testing for months. The company, which is backed by Alphabet's Larry Page, has been working on "an aircraft so personal it could weave the freedom of flight into our daily lives" since 2010.

Vertical take-off and landing: Cora is powered by 12 independent lift fans, which enable her to take off and land vertically like a helicopter. To this end it can operate using self-flying software, and features three flight computers that make sure the aircraft knows where it is at all times, each able to work on its own to safeguard against systems failure.

Kitty Hawk, the flying auto startup financially backed by Google cofounder Larry Page, has been quietly testing flying taxis in New Zealand.

The project was officially unveiled on Tuesday by Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's prime minister, and Fred Reid, chief executive of Zephyr Airworks.

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Mr Johns says it is fitting that this part of the world hosts the trials of the electric self-piloting air taxi. It can go 60 miles on a charge, at heights of up to 3,000 feet and speeds of 110 miles per hour. It has a 62-mile range and room on board for two passengers. Kitty Hawk has the agreement of the government to test Cora there and everyone involved hopes it will lead to the first commercial network of flying taxis. Bonus points: The Kitty Hawk taxis will be autonomous.

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. 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 U.S. aviation authorities.

Flight tests soon followed under an experimental airworthiness certificate from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority and the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

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