Kitty Hawk is run by former Google X head Sebastian Thrun, while Cora's initial blog post makes out New Zealand as its base to make a future "where the freedom of flight belongs to everyone" in the same way that the Wright Brothers initially took off in North Carolina. Kitty Hawk and other companies now pursuing autonomous electric taxi services still face significant regulatory hurdles in the U.S. before the unique business models can become a reality. The Cora aircraft is a self-flying vehicle with 12 rotor blades which allow it to take off and land vertically. With a 36-foot wingspan, the aircraft flies between 500 and 3,000 feet above the ground at around 110 miles per hour.
Plus: The firm hopes to use the aircraft as part of a commercial network within three years, and it is building an Uber-style app through which people would be able to hail a flight.
Early specifications show that the fully-autonomous aircraft is capable of reaching a top speed of 110mph and have a flight range of approximately 62 miles. 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 United States aviation authorities. The project went by the code name Zee.Aero for a while, which Kitty Hawk said was the name of their Cora team during the development stage. We first saw the news via The New York Times.More news: Donald Trump dumps Rex Tillerson as secretary of state
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Kitty Hawk had previously tested another flying vehicle prototype called the "Flyer" last April.
"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you".
The next phase of prototype testing is being carried out in New Zealand.
Zephyr Airworks is working in collaboration with New Zealand's business ministry, its transport ministry, and its Civil Aviation Authority.