Kitty Hawk begins testing Cora air taxiby Justin King
"Cora has the potential to transform spaces like rooftops and parking lots into places to take off right from your neighborhood," the company says.
Kitty Hawk, the secretive startup backed by Google's Larry Page, has begun to reveal more details of its flying taxi.
Known as Cora, the aircraft uses a multi-rotor system to take off and land vertically without the need for a runway. It still has wings, however, providing the long-range efficiency benefits of flying like an airplane.
The startup is hoping to combine autonomous flight software with human supervision, potentially a faster track to gaining government approval for flights that carry only non-pilot passengers.
The next phase of prototype testing is being carried out in New Zealand. Kitty Hawk and other companies currently pursuing autonomous electric taxi services still face significant regulatory hurdles in the US before the unique business models can become a reality.