ibusinesslines.com March 18, 2018

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

13 March 2018, 07:21 | Jodi Jackson

Testing of world-first self-piloted air taxi in Canterbury

Christchurch testing ground for world's first self-piloted electric air taxi

Self-flying taxis could zip through the skies of New Zealand if Kitty Hawk has anything to do about it.

Google Co-Founder Larry Page invested heavily in a very secretive company called Kitty Hawk, run by Google X's former executive Sebastian Thrun, and now the self-piloting flying taxis that the company has been working on are ready to be revealed to the public.

Kitty Hawk is based in California, and a company called Zephyr Airworks is their operator in New Zealand. 12 independent lift fans power the taxi so it can take off and land much like a helicopter, and doesn't require a runway.

Reports surfaced in 2016 that Google co-founder (and now Alphabet CEO) Larry Page had two "flying car" projects in the works, and while we saw the Flyer recreational vehicle unveiled previous year, today it's time to meet Cora.

"Zephyr Airworks came here because of the ease of doing business in New Zealand, our safety-focused regulatory environment, our culture of ingenuity and our vision for clean technologies and future transport alternatives".

Kitty Hawk's first publicly revealed air taxi, Cora, is a fully autonomous and electric machine.

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". With a 36-foot wingspan, the aircraft flies between 500 and 3,000 feet above the ground at around 110 miles per hour. 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. Flying cars are also proving to be big hits at auto shows - Airbus and Audi unveiled a concept at this year's Geneva Motor Show, alongside the Pal-V Liberty autogyro.

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