Kitty Hawk's Flying Taxi Cora Undergoes Trials in New Zealand
【Summary】Compared to the company’s first prototype, Cora appears to be designed for commercial flight.
Flying cars prototypes are proliferating at a rapid pace, with Kitty Hawk, a startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, leading the way. The company recently unveiled its latest aircraft, Cora.
The all-electric flying taxi looks like a regular, two-passenger plane. This one, however, is equipped with a self-driving system. Compared to the company's first prototype, Cora appears to be designed for commercial flight.
Cora: Flying Taxi
With a wingspan of 36 feet, the aircraft is very functional. Interestingly, in an attempt to standout from other flying vehicles in development, Kitty Hawk is persistent in calling Cora a flying taxi. This also hints at the possibility of the company launching a commercial air-taxi service, powered by a fleet of flying taxis.
"The all-electric Cora uses 12 fans to take off and land vertically. Once in the air, it uses a single propeller to fly like an airplane. It can carry two passengers, has a range of about 62 miles, and a top speed of about 110 mph," said the company.
For peace of mind, the aircraft is equipped with robust safety features, including a giant parachute designed to slow down freefall and ease emergency landing maneuvers. Furthermore, all of the propellers on the flying vehicle operate independently. Should one fail, the other propellers will continue to function normally. The flight control platform is also backed by multiple computers, for enhanced redundancy.
Perhaps the most innovative feature of Cora is its autonomous capability. The unit is guided using an on-board driverless system and human operators on the ground. Kitty Hawk markets the flying taxi as an aircraft that can be used by anyone; suggesting that no flying or piloting experience is needed during use.
Trials in New Zealand
Although Cora was conceptualized and developed in California, commercial operations for the flying taxi will likely commence in a different part of the world. Kitty Hawk has set its sights on New Zealand, due to its lax regulatory environment for this type of technology.
In the country, the business is flying under the radar via New Zealand operator Zephyr Airworks, which is led by aviation veteran Fred Reid (previously chief executive of Virgin America and ex-president of both Delta Airlines and Lufthansa). Setting up trials in New Zealand has allowed the company to streamline the acquisition of native certification and benefit from intellectual property protection laws.
According to Sebastian Thurn, CEO of Kitty Hawk, meetings with local officials have been positive. At the moment, the Civil Aviation Authority is in the process of drafting a set of prerequisites for certification, which is applicable to the company's flying taxi operations.
"We've got the right conditions, in that we've got great regulations, great connectivity internationally, wide open space and a local authority that is committed to trialing new technologies," said Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods.
Zephyr Airworks' role in the success of the trials is an important one. The company will conduct fleet management services for Kitty Hawk, ensuring the flying taxis take on set routes in a safe and timely manner.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
Waymo Receives Permit to Participate in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Pilot
How Do Autonomous Cars Deal with Double-parked Vehicles?
Kitty Hawk and Boeing Form Partnership to Make Flying Cars Safer
Waymo to Bring Driverless Cars to France and Japan via Nissan-Renault Partnership
Porsche Forecasts EVs Going Mainstream
Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
Alibaba Brings Tmall Genie to Audi, Honda and Renault Vehicles
Driverless Sensor Startup Sense Photonics Raises $26 Million in Series A Funding
- BMW and Jaguar Land Rover Collaborate on Electric Vehicles
- Baidu Announces 'Apollo Lite' a Camera-based Autonomous Driving Technology
- Electrify America to Offer Free Charging to Buyers of Harley Davidson’s Electric Livewire Motorcycle
- Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
- BMW's Hybrid cars to Switch to Electric-Only Mode in Polluted Cities
- Three Upcoming Mass-Market EVs to Look Out for in 2020
- Honda Confirms Side Camera Mirror System for Upcoming EV
- Tesla Shares, Bonds Under Pressure as Elon Musk Warns of Shrinking Profits in Q3
- Autonomous Car Startup Aurora Plans Large Expansion in Silicon Valley
- An Electric BMW iX3 Might be Launched in the U.S. with a 75 kWh Battery