Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Larry Page's flying taxis might take off in New Zealand by 2021

Larry Page's flying taxis might take off in New Zealand by 2021

When reached for additional comment Tuesday, a Kitty Hawk spokesperson would only refer us to the company's fact sheet and website.

The flying vehicle company led by Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page is breaking cover with a new deal that will see it test its autonomous electric air taxis with the New Zealand government, with the aim of having a commercial network ready to carry passengers within as little as three years, the New York Times reports.

The report says Kitty Hawk is already working on a taxi-hailing app, and plans to run the entire operation itself. Cora will use 12 lift rotors on the wings to take off and land vertically and will use a single propeller to power its fixed-wing flight.

Capacity: Designed for two passengers.

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Whilst other air-taxi projects are planning on flying in congested cities such as Dallas and Dubai, in the case of UberAir, Kitty Hawk will be flying first in the relatively New Zealand. That was always just a stepping stone towards the company's larger goal of building viable self-flying taxis, however.

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern confirmed the news to the Times, saying the project is "about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality".

Zee.Aero, by the way, had been testing flying cars in California in the past couple of years. Alphabet's own Waymo has been betting on putting autonomous vehicles on public roads, while Uber is hedging its bets with both autonomous driving options and air taxis, though both of those are still years away from being fully commercialized. The Porsche board member responsible for sales and marketing talked to us at Geneva about a potential flying Porsche, part of the company's Strategy 2025 that looks at how Porsche's sports cars will fit into the future of transportation.

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