Chch Airport welcomes testing of autonomous air travel

14 March, 2018, 00:41 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • Aircraft

Larry Page, the cofounder of Google and CEO of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG,GOOGL), is showing off his new autonomous flying taxi "Cora".

The vehicle has been in development for about eight years, and can take off and land vertically.

Watch Google co-founder's Kitty Hawk Cora electric aircraft in flight originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:35:00 EDT.

"This is a fully electric aircraft that rises into the air like a helicopter, flies like a plane and then lands again like a helicopter".

"This aircraft represents the evolution of the transport ecosystem to one that responds to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, and is kinder to the planet", Christchurch's mayor Lianne Dalziel said in a statement. Its wingspan is 36 feet.

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New Zealand regulators have approved plans for Zephyr Airworks, a subsidiary of Page's company Kitty Hawk, to develop and test the futuristic air taxis.

The project enjoys the support of some of the brightest minds in the aviation and transport technology industries, including former staff from the likes of Google, NASA, Boeing and Honeywell. As we recently saw in California, US state governments have shown some willingness for companies to test autonomous driving technology, so long as cars are following the rules of the road.

Kitty Hawk will operate the flights through Zephyr Airworks, which Kitty Hawk set up in New Zealand in 2016.

"Let's not forget this part of the world is where Richard Pearse first pioneered flying, something we honour with a sculpture within our airport terminal, so it's great to see this bold thinking being revealed here too", he says.

Sebastian Thrun, the entrepreneur and computer scientist who formerly headed up Google's self-driving vehicle efforts, is in charge of Kitty Hawk. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, in an email to The New York Times, explained that her country wants to become "net carbon zero" by 2050, and the Cora can help make that happen. "Our future is still being imagined and we are determined to play an active role in shaping it for the better through new ideas, new innovations, and new ways of looking at the world".



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