Self-piloted 'air taxi' takes to sky in New Zealand

Chch Airport welcomes testing of autonomous air travel

Watch: Self-piloted flying taxi being tested in Christchurch

Pic: Kitty HawkGoogle cofounder Larry Page's flying taxi project is cleared for take off.

Kitty Hawk unveiled the prototype Cora airtaxi on Tuesday, which it has been testing in New Zealand for the last five months.

Kitty Hawk isn't putting a timeframe around when Cora will be available for public flights. We first saw the news via The New York Times. The Cora aircraft is a self-flying vehicle with 12 rotor blades which allow it to take off and land vertically.

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Many companies have promised great leaps but failed to deliver meaningful progress towards a Jetsons-like future, from Uber's Elevate to China's Ehang.

Cora is capable of traveling at up to 110mph (180km/s) with a range of 62 miles (100km) carrying two passengers. It has an 11-metre wingspan and operates a single propeller. It's been testing the vehicles through a local operator called Zephyr Airworks, and Cora has an "experimental airworthiness certificate" from both New Zealand and U.S. aviation authorities.

The company hopes to have official certification and to have launched a commercial service within three years, which will make it the first to do so.

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"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you".

"We are sure aviation and technology enthusiasts, as well as people interested in seeing what the future can look like, will take a keen interest in Cora". "Cora has the potential to transform spaces like rooftops and parking lots into places to take off right from your neighbourhood".

Zephyr Airworks is working in collaboration with New Zealand's business ministry, its transport ministry, and its Civil Aviation Authority.

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The aircraft has been developed by Kitty Hawk, which is run by Sebastian Thrun, who previously led the development of Google's self-driving cars as director of Google X.

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