Google founder’s self-flying air taxi takes off in New Zealand

The autonomous aircraft capable of vertical take-off can do 100 km on a single charge

Flying in a self-piloting cab plane is in the near future for residents of Christchurch, New Zealand, as the Kitty Hawk company, funded by Google’s founder Larry Page, has unveiled its new plane named Cora.

The autonomous aircraft featuring the eVTOL technology – electric vertical take off and landing – is equipped with “self-flying software combined with human oversight”. As an air taxi it will be able to fly at the speed up to 180 km/h and over 100 km on a single charge.

The plane should eventually be available to customers as a service “similar to an airline or a rideshare”, the constructors said.

“After almost 8 years of engineering, re-engineering and re-re-engineering, we had done it. We had designed an air taxi, affectionately named Cora, that could take off like a helicopter and transition to flying like a plane,” Kitty Hawk said in a press release.

As the Californian constructors had encountered issues with certification in their homeland, they had to look elsewhere to establish their service.

“We quickly realized that there was only one place in the world that had everything we needed,” Kitty Hawk said.

New Zealand to become totally emission-free by 2050

New Zealand’s Central Aviation Authority has the respect of the worldwide regulatory community. A people who embrace the future. And a dynamic economy that could serve as a springboard for Cora.”

New Zealand has proved itself to be a country that looks to the future. The Kiwis have already implemented several eco-friendly approaches and with 80 per cent of the country powered by renewable energy, they have become world’s most sustainable energy ecosystem.

As the Californian constructors had encountered issues with certification in their homeland, they had to look elsewhere to build the self-flying air taxi ― KittyHawk google new zealand
Kitty Hawk encountered issues with certification in their homeland, they had to look elsewhere to build the self-flying air taxi ― KittyHawk


According to Megan Woods, minister for research, science and innovation, New Zealand even aims to be totally emission free by 2050.

That is also reason why Kitty Hawk has found a huge partner in the state.

Peter Crabtree of New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said: “In New Zealand, we know we can’t keep using the same old approaches to meet our future challenges. We saw Cora’s potential as a sustainable, efficient and transformative technology that can enrich people’s lives, not only in New Zealand, but ultimately the whole world.”