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Google guru Page tests flying taxis in New Zealand

13 March 2018

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 previous year, today it's time to meet Cora.

California-based company Kitty Hawk, operating as Zephyr Airworks in New Zealand, has revealed it's testing the world's first self-piloted and electric air taxi. Cora can also fly at altitudes of between 500 to 3,000 feet and is to be powered by a fully electric engine. Just as importantly, it's quiet during flight.

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"Cora rises like a helicopter and flies like a plane, eliminating the need for a runway and creating the possibility of taking off from places like rooftops", a fact sheet by the startup reads.

The vehicle can travel at over 93 miles per hour, and has a range of around 62 miles on a single charge.

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The Cora prototype being tested in New Zealand's South Island uses three on-board computers to calculate its flight path and is capable of carrying two passengers.

As The New York Times reports, Kitty Hawk has been flying Cora over the South Island of New Zealand since October past year. The fact sheet mentions that Cora has an experimental permit with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and New Zealand regulators, but only that the company is looking forward to sharing Cora with the New Zealand public. A timeline on the website shows how far things have come over the years, from its first hover in 2011, first self-piloted transition in 2014 and the beginning of self-piloted testing in New Zealand last October. The progress made by Kitty Hawk, according to the Prime Minister, should serve as a signal that New Zealand is ready to accept great ideas in the tech sphere, even when more developed nations like the United States may still not be equipped to adopt such innovations from a regulatory standpoint.

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Google guru Page tests flying taxis in New Zealand