Google co-founder Larry Page has unveiled a new all-electric autonomous flying taxi, the progeny of one of his two flying car startups, Kitty Hawk.
Named in honor of the Wright Brothers, the concept, called Cora, comprises of a two-seater personal airplane and drone hybrid, capable of vertical landing and takeoff using 12 lift fans, springing off rooftops and parking lots instead of runways. It will use self-piloting software to facilitate "everyday flight" as part of a rideshare program. Think on-demand air taxis.
According to Kitty Hawk, Cora will be capable of flying 93-plus miles (150 kilometers) an hour with a 62-mile range (100 kilometers).
Initial testing will be conducted in New Zealand, a location selected based on its favorable regulatory system, clean energy initiatives, and cooperation by local government and businesses.
Leading the charge is CEO Sebastian Thrun, a former director of Google's autonomous car unit, Google X, in collaboration with New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, whom the firm has worked with to build a flying taxi network in the country by the end of the decade.
"New Zealand's Central Aviation Authority has the respect of the worldwide regulatory community. A people who embrace the future. And a dynamic economy that could serve as a springboard for Cora," said Kitty Hawk in a statement.
It is not yet known when Cora plans on conducting its first public flight nor its timetable for production.
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