Kitty Hawk previously revealed its "Flyer" aircraft, which was more like a hovercraft crossed with a jet ski, and which it intends to sell to individuals in the recreational vehicle market. To this end it can operate using self-flying software, and features three flight computers that make sure the aircraft knows where it is at all times, each able to work on its own to safeguard against systems failure.
The thirteen-rotor aircraft is capable of vertical lift and of fixed wing flight.
The prototype Cora is all-electric, can carry two passengers, and flies between 500 and 3,000 feet above the ground.
The first self-piloted hover of Kitty Hawk's flying taxi prototype took place at the end of 2011, but it didn't graduate to vertical take-off and forward flight until February 2014.
The airport company has been in discussions with the American company for some time now, supporting its search for a suitable test space for the autonomous air taxi, known as Cora. We had our moment.
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. "We saw Cora's potential as a sustainable, efficient and transformative technology that can enrich people's lives, not only in New Zealand, but ultimately the whole world".
The startup, Kitty Hawk, envisages that flying cars will be the new norm and is financed by Google cofounder Larry Page and led by ex-Google scientist Sebastian Thrun.
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