Larry Page's Air Taxi Takes Flight

Larry Page's Air Taxi Takes Flight

Larry Page's Air Taxi Takes Flight

Kitty Hawk, the flying vehicle startup financially backed by Google cofounder Larry Page, has been quietly testing flying taxis in New Zealand.

The startup, Kitty Hawk, envisages that flying cars will be the new norm and is financed by Google cofounder Larry Page and led by ex-Google scientist Sebastian Thrun.

The airtaxi can fly up to 110mph, and uses 12 rotor blades to take off and land vertically. We first saw the news via The New York Times.

The company has secretly been testing their "flying cars" since October 2017 in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. The air taxi looks like a small single-seater plane, but then you notice the wings are covered in a dozen small propellers and there's a surprising lack of noise on take-off. The all-electric Cora flies autonomously up to 914 metres (3,000ft) above ground, has a wingspan of 11 metres, and has been eight years in the making.

Kitty Hawk is already working on an app and technology to allow customers to hail flying taxis like an Uber.

Kitty Hawk chose New Zealand as a testbed due to its "forward thinking regulatory system", according to an update on its website. Kitty Hawk is working on further certification so it can launch a commercial air taxi service.

ChristchurchNZ announced the project, which is being run by Zephyr Airworks, on Tuesday afternoon.

"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you". Like Kitty Hawk's Cora, many rely on drone technology and vertical takeoff and landing, so they don't need a runway. "Cora has the potential to transform spaces like rooftops and parking lots into places to take off right from your neighborhood".

Kitty Hawk is personally financed by Page and is being run by former Google autonomous vehicle director Sebastian Thrun.