Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
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Aero company Kitty Hawk unveils pilot-less air taxi 'Cora'

Aero company Kitty Hawk unveils pilot-less air taxi 'Cora'

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.

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.

Alphabet chief executive Larry Page has been putting his vast wealth into a number of projects, including a flying taxi start-up now testing in New Zealand. However, the advent of air taxis-especially with autonomous capabilities-could fundamentally change the way the world sees commuting and business travel forever. Having government officials willing to support Cora probably helps, too.

New Zealand's Central Aviation Authority has the respect of the worldwide regulatory community.

The team found its Kitty Hawk in New Zealand, where regulators are apparently into the firm's all-electric, renewable-energy mission. That's exactly what any company wants to hear.

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

Cora can fly 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. There is also the capability for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) which looks like it can open transportation options ranging from commuter services to drone deliveries.

The air taxi will operate on a ride-sharing program operated by Kitty Hawk's Subsidiary Zephyr Airworks.

At the same time, Kitty Hawk had already built a new aircraft, according to US Federal Aviation Administration registration documents.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has always been viewed as having a thoughtful and safety-conscious regulatory regime. In November, Boeing acquired Aurora Flight Sciences.

But developers say it is much quieter, meaning it could transport passengers in urban areas using rooftops and auto parks as landing pads.

In an interview, Reid said the opportunity to use New Zealand as the first place to commercialize the autonomous taxi service was a step-change in the advancement of the sector.

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