Kitty Hawk is testing electric self-flying taxis in New Zealand

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Like Kitty Hawk's Cora, many rely on drone technology and vertical takeoff and landing, so they don't need a runway. 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.

Fixed wing flight: On a single propeller. It has a 62-mile range and room on board for two passengers.

A California-based company unveiled an autonomous air taxi on Tuesday in Christchurch, with an eye on revolutionising personal air travel within the next decade. Kitty Hawk and other companies now pursuing autonomous electric taxi services still face significant regulatory hurdles in the U.S. before the unique business models can become a reality.

Kitty Hawk was rumoured to be pitching a "flying car" prototype as far back as 2016 - when it began pitching the concept to various governments to secure backing.

Kitty Hawk, the company led by the "godfather of self-driving cars" Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, has revealed its Cora aircraft, which is a hybrid vertical take-off and landing design that can take off like a helicopter but fly like a plane. We had our aircraft. "But there was no place in the world where Cora could take the next step".

As The New York Times reports, Kitty Hawk has been flying Cora over the South Island of New Zealand since October past year.

Dr Peter Crabtree of New Zealand's MBIE saw the opportunity immediately: "In New Zealand, we know we can't keep using the same old approaches to meet our future challenges".

"We are offering a pollution free, emissions free vehicle that flies independently", Fred Reid, head of Kitty Hawk operations in New Zealand, said in a video posted on the company's website.

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 a year ago, today it's time to meet Cora.



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