Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Sci-tech | By Spencer Schmidt

Self-Flying Air Taxi Tested in New Zealand

Self-Flying Air Taxi Tested in New Zealand

The vehicle can take off like a helicopter but fly like a plane, traveling at over 93 miles per hour.

Google co-founder Larry Page and now the chief executive of Google's parent Alphabet is financing a company, Kitty Hawk, run by Sebastian Thrun, who helped start Google's autonomous vehicle unit as the director of GoogleX.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel says the project is a ideal fit with the city's commitment to becoming carbon neutral.

"This aircraft represents the evolution of the transport eco system to one that responds to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, and is kinder to the planet", Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said.

"Unlike a helicopter, Cora is remarkably quiet", Allison said. Its wingspan is 36 feet.

It has managed to go under the radar in New Zealand because until now it has been operating under the different name of Zephyr Airworks, but some intrigued investigators began to connect the dots after it was found its chief executive was named Fred Reid, president of another company associated with Page called Zee Aero that also shared the Kitty Hawk craft's codename, Zee.Aero.

The project enjoys the support of some of the brightest minds in the aviation and transport technology industries, including former staff from the likes of Google, NASA, Boeing and Honeywell. The current goal for Kitty Hawk is to create and operate its own taxi service, not sell the aircraft to customers, reports The New York Times. The country said it will embrace the company and welcomed it to continue tests.

"We had no idea what to expect", he said.

Sebastian Thrun, the entrepreneur and computer scientist who formerly headed up Google's self-driving auto efforts, is in charge of Kitty Hawk. In a statement, Kitty Hawk said it chose New Zealand because the country has a "dynamic economy", making comparisons to the United States in the era of the Wright Brothers.

New Zealand is truly the nexus point for fantasy lovers and futurists' dearest dreams. "Our future is still being imagined and we are determined to play an active role in shaping it for the better through new ideas, new innovations, and new ways of looking at the world".

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