Autonomous Flying Taxi Backed By Google Co-Founder Unveiled

Watch: Self-piloted flying taxi being tested in Christchurch

The company is called Kitty Hawk, and it just revealed Cora, a prototype air taxi that takes off like a helicopter, flies like a plane, and uses electric propulsion.

Kitty Hawk, the Silicon Valley startup backed by Page, said it is building and testing "all-electric vertical take-off and landing products" in New Zealand.

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. Kitty Hawk intends to own and operate the vehicles itself, per the report, kind of like what Ford intends to do with its first fleet of autonomous cars to enter commercial service.

As far as flying taxis go, this one's pretty easy on the eyes.

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.

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern confirmed the news to the Times, saying the project is "about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality".

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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.

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.

After operating in the Kiwi shadows, Kitty Hawk has finally made its existence public.

You might not think of New Zealand as being on the cutting edge of aviation innovations, but with a new self-flying taxi aiming to achieve regulatory approval, perhaps it's time to rethink that assessment.

Several other companies, including Uber and Airbus, are also racing to commercialize flying taxis. It looked less like a auto than a jet ski with wings.

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