Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Larry Page's Air Taxi Takes Flight

Larry Page's Air Taxi Takes Flight

The company led by Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page returns today with a look at their new design.

Kitty Hawk, which has so far only demonstrated its piloted recreational hovercraft (a luxury item created to help it spur development of its autonomous air taxis) has been testing its autonomous electric passenger aircraft, which resembles a small plane with variable rotors that can go from a vertical alignment for take-off and landing, to a horizontal one for flying like an ordinary plane through the skies. According to the company's FAQ, the plane has three independent flight-computers and can navigate even if one goes down, while each rotor works independently and just in case things really go wrong the plane has a parachute for landing without its fans.

Cora has been designed for two passengers.

Altitude: Operates between 500 ft to 3000 ft above the ground. Cora is the result - a two-seater short hop aircraft that can lift off and land like a helicopter and flies forward like an airplane. That's why Cora can take off and land like a helicopter, eliminating the need for runways.

The thirteen-rotor aircraft is capable of vertical lift and of fixed wing flight.

Kitty Hawk's vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, called Cora, will have a range of around 62 miles to start.

Speed: About 110 miles per hour / about 180 kilometres per hour.

Self-flying taxis could zip through the skies of New Zealand if Kitty Hawk has anything to do about it. They've found a collaborator in New Zealand; prime minister Jacinda Ardern told The New York Times, "We've got an ambitious target in New Zealand of being net carbon zero by 2050...exciting projects like this are part of how we make that happen".

Kitty Hawk's idea is to build a network of self-flying air taxis. A timeline on the website shows how far things have come over the years, from its first hover in 2011, first self-piloted transition in 2014 and the beginning of self-piloted testing in New Zealand last October.

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