For sometime now, Kitty Hawk, a company funded by Google co-founder Larry Page, has been secretly testing a new kind of autonomous flying taxis in New Zealand.
It has now announced that it would begin the regulatory approval process in New Zealand where these flying taxis will be tested for an official certification.
Here's more on this development.
Cora, Kitty Hawk's two-person autonomous flying taxi, is a fully-electric 12 rotor plane-cum-drone aircraft that can take off vertically like a helicopter and fly like an airplane using the rear propeller.
With a wingspan of 36 feet, Cora can fly at upto 177 kmph for a total flying distance of 100 kms and can reach a maximum altitude of 3,000 feet.
Personally funded by Google co-founder Larry Page, Kitty Hawk is being run by former Google X director Sebastian Thrun.
The company hopes to obtain official certification within three years and become the first company to launch a commercial air taxi service.
Kitty Hawk, which readied Cora in eight years, is currently working on an app for customers to hail air taxis.
"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you. That's why Cora can take off and land like a helicopter, eliminating the need for runways," says Kitty Hawk. "Cora has the potential to transform spaces like rooftops/parking lots into places to take off."
Firstly, this agreement with New Zealand government will be a step towards the commercialization of this technology and will encourage other developed nations to innovate in this space.
Secondly, with exhaustive tests, NZ can develop rules and regulations concerning air taxis, which can serve as templates for other nations like the US and UAE, which have made some advancements in this technology.
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