Self-piloted air taxi takes to sky in New Zealand



This time around, though, Kitty Hawk's ambitions are bigger. 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.

Details: Cora uses 12 rotors to take off like a helicopter and then fly like an airplane.

Testing of a self-piloted air taxi is taking place in Canterbury, with the hope the flying service could soon take to the skies.

Formerly Zee.Aero, Zephyr Airworks is Kitty Hawk's operator in New Zealand, although the companies haven't put a timeline on when it will be available for rides.

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Passenger David Fleck said he was surprised to discover there were no emergency slides near the exit door over the wing. The fire department said two people were brought to local hospitals but did not reveal the nature of their injuries.

The company has been pitching the air taxi privately since 2016, finally choosing New Zealand as its R&D and certification location as well as its launch market due to the country's large support of renewable energy and electric vehicles as well as its accommodating airspace regulations.

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.

Cora is capable of traveling at up to 110mph (180km/s) with a range of 62 miles (100km) carrying two passengers. Alphabet's own Waymo has been betting on putting autonomous vehicles on public roads, while Uber is hedging its bets with both autonomous driving options and air taxis, though both of those are still years away from being fully commercialized. Intel had a wild one at CES this year, too. The Porsche board member responsible for sales and marketing talked to us at Geneva about a potential flying Porsche, part of the company's Strategy 2025 that looks at how Porsche's sports cars will fit into the future of transportation.

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