Google co-founder tests autonomous flying taxis in New Zealand

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In Cora's branding, Kitty Hawk ditched the phrase "flying car" and replaced it with "air 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.

The Cora features a lift-and-cruise configuration, which has emerged as one of three popular categories for the emerging class of electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) air taxis.

Kitty Hawk has operated largely in secret until April 2017, led by Sebastian Thrun, who is also a founder of Google's self-driving auto program and online education service Udacity.

As for how Kitty Hawk's self-flying tech works, we haven't seen anything revealed yet. But Kitty Hawk isn't the only company trying to get flying taxis into the air.

After using a company called Zephyr Airworks to hide the Cora during testing, Kitty Hawk came out of the shadows to reveal it'll start an approvals process to launch the aircraft in New Zealand.

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Included in the company's fact sheet about Cora: what the air taxi will do if its propellers fail in midair. It looks like a cross between a small plane and a drone, with a series of small rotor blades along each wing that allow it to take off like a helicopter and then fly like a plane. Cora can fly up to 110 miles per hour and has a range of 62 miles.

The Cora already has experimental airworthiness certificates issued by both the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, and the United States Federal Aviation Administration. The fruits of his latest labors at Kitty Hawk is Cora, an autonomous and fully electric flying taxi.

"A place that could be more than just a willing airfield". In November, Boeing acquired Aurora Flight Sciences. Kitty Hawk has been conducting a series of stealth test flights in New Zealand sincaDe October, the Times reports.

The vehicle, has been under development for eight years, and it can take off and land vertically, much like a helicopter.

It has been clear for several years that improvements in batteries, electric motors, and software would make it possible to build a vehicle like this.