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Larry Page's air taxis are already flying above New Zealand
13 March 2018, 07:16 | Casey Mitchell
The nation's government is working with Kitty Hawk to firm up regulatory approval.
New Zealand regulators on Tuesday approved plans for Zephyr Airworks, a subsidiary of Page's company Kitty Hawk, to develop and test the futuristic air taxis. The company, financed by Google co-founder Larry Page, intends to seek official certification for the Cora, an autonomous flying taxi, with the intent of deploying a fleet of flying taxis in as little as three years.
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 past year, today it's time to meet Cora.
Known as Cora, the electric aircraft has a dozen lift fans on its wings, making it capable of vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter. In keeping with 21st-century trends, it's also fully electric with a range of about 62 miles.
The good folks over at Kitty Hawk are looking to change the game of flight.
Dubbed "Cora", the vehicle can "take off like a helicopter and transition to flying like a plane", Kitty Hawk said in a statement on Monday. The rather diminutive craft has room for just a couple of people on board and has been seen in the skies over New Zealand doing tests in recent months.
Once it's in the air, a single propeller drives Cora at about 110 miles per hour, between altitudes of 500 and 3,000 feet.
After operating in the Kiwi shadows, Kitty Hawk has finally made its existence public.
Autonomous flight, and short-hop on-demand aerial transportation, are both big areas of focus for some other high-profile companies, including Uber, which is hosting its second annual conference dedicated to the idea in May, and Airbus, which has been investing in small, electric, autonomous aircraft via its own Vahanna project and through partnerships, including with automaker Audi.
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Look for partly to mostly sunny skies, with breezy conditions and temperatures only getting up into the cooler 40s again. The system leaves slightly before 12 p.m. and that means the rest of Monday will be rather sunny with a high of 50.