Kitty Hawk unveiled the prototype Cora airtaxi on Tuesday, which it has been testing in New Zealand for the last five months.
Kitty Hawk says that Cora can fly up to 3,000 ft (915 m), has a range that's reckoned to be about 62 miles (100 km) per charge, which will make it good for short hops, and it's reported capable of getting up to 110 mph (180 km/h).
Plus: The firm hopes to use the aircraft as part of a commercial network within three years, and it is building an Uber-style app through which people would be able to hail a flight.
The company is called Kitty Hawk, and it just revealed Cora, a prototype air taxi that takes off like a helicopter, flies like a plane, and uses electric propulsion. We first saw the news via The New York Times. Mr Page brought in Google-X founder and self-driving auto expert Sebastian Thrun to act as CEO of Kitty Hawk and former Virgin America and Delta CEO Fred Reid to head up Zephyr.
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. That's why Cora can take off and land like a helicopter, eliminating the need for runways.
New Zealand is focused on becoming "net carbon zero" by the year 2050, which is why prime minister Jacinda Ardern embraced the emissions-free transportation project.
Zephyr Airworks is working in collaboration with New Zealand's business ministry, its transport ministry, and its Civil Aviation Authority. Kitty Hawk intends to own and operate the vehicles itself, per the report, kind of like what Ford intends to do with its first fleet of autonomous cars to enter commercial service.
Kitty Hawk is led by Sebastian Thrun, a former Google scientist who worked on the company's self-driving cars and Google Glass.
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