Self-flying air taxi lifts off in New Zealand

From BBC - March 13, 2018

A firm funded by Google founder Larry Page has unveiled an electric, self-flying air taxi that can travel at up to 180 km/h (110mph).

It can do 100 km on a single charge, and it takes off and lands vertically.

It will eventually be available to customers as a service "similar to an airline or a rideshare" said parent company Kitty Hawk on the Cora website.

It operates using "self-flying software combined with human oversight", it added.

The aircraft has been developed in New Zealand, where the government said it welcomed the project because of its environmental credentials.

"We have got ambitious goals here in New Zealand, we want to get to net zero emissions by 2050 and that includes mobility," said Dr Megan Woods, minister for research, science and innovation, in a promotional video for the aircraft.

The firm said it is now working "constructively" with aviation regulatory authorities but declined to put a date on when Cora might start work.

'Engineering feat'

This type of aircraft is known as an eVTOL - which stands for electric Vertical Take Off and Landing.

One expert told the BBC that while there are many varieties of eVTOL in development - mostly in secret - Cora was an interesting model.


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