The New Zealand start-up Kitty Hawk, which is co-founded by Google and the head of Alphabet by Larry Page, has started testing its stand-alone Cora flying taxi, the local New Zealand Herald newspaper reported. The vehicle can climb and land vertically, like a helicopter, and fly like an airplane. The development of the project lasted for eight years.
“Such tests allow us to consider future transport opportunities that may have far-reaching benefits for daily travel and can even support our growing tourism market,” said the head of the city administration of Christchurch, Joanna Norris.
The company published a video of the flight of future taxis.
“We are offering an environmentally-friendly vehicle that flies autonomously,” commented the beginning of the tests, the head of the Kitty Hawk unit in New Zealand, Fred Reed, in a video message on the company website.
According to New Zealand Herald, the taxi operates on an electric motor and therefore is safe for the environment. The device is capable of carrying two passengers at a speed of 150-180 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 150 meters to 900 meters. The travel distance without recharging is 100 kilometers. Vertical takeoff is provided by 12 starting engines, and displacement in the air is due to a single engine.
The flying device is equipped with three on-board computers dealing with navigation miscalculations. Even if one of them fails, the rest will take on his responsibilities. At the most extreme, the Cora has a parachute that will land even when the screws are not working.
Cora is expected to become part of the transport system and will be sold to companies and fleets rather than to individuals.