Air taxis are set to bring a manifold change in the way we commute in busy metro cities, or at least that’s what firms like Uber, Airbus, and Google founder Larry Page backed startup Kitty Hawk believe. Imagine traveling from your home to your workplace without worrying about heavy traffic delays on the way.
Soon after Airbus’ Vahana flying taxi went about with its first test flight early last month, Kitty Hawk has finally unveiled an autonomous flying taxi called Cora. The billionaire-backed firm has actually been testing out its Cora flying plane-drone undercover in New Zealand for the last few months.
California based Kitty Hawk had conducting test runs of its two-person air drone in collaboration with Zephyr Airworks. It’s also not surprising to see Kitty Hawk testing out it’s Cora 12-rotor plane-drone hybrid in the Oceanian Island country. New Zealand has a rich history in pioneering various advancements in the aviation industry and has always been accepting and supporting new technological developments. Even Google had chosen the country during the initial phases of its Project Loon.
Kitty Hawk’s Cora is a plane-drone hybrid with 12 rotors and a carrying capacity of two passengers. The most interesting bit about the craft is the fact that it doesn’t need an airstrip or runway to take off or land. Instead, it can simply propel itself up vertically and can rise to fly autonomously at up to 914 meters (3,000 ft.) above the ground. Additionally, it extremely environment-friendly due to its all-electric powerhouse. The engineers at Larry Page’s backed startup claim that they have put down eight long years of grueling work in designing this a Cora flying taxi from the ground up.
After having rigorously tested out the Cora flying taxi for the last few months, the company hopes to receive an official certification from the New Zealand government in the coming months. Just in case, everything goes on as planned, then New Zealand aviation authority will have yet another feather in its cap by becoming the first to device a certification process for autonomous air taxis.
Development of products like Cora helps us believe that we aren’t really far away from the day when these air taxi-drones would become a mainstream mode of transportation. Flying taxis or air taxis, as you may call it, are growing in fashion since the past few years.
Leading American Cab hailing service, Uber, is closely working on this autonomous mode of transportation under its Elevate project. The company is even reported to be in talks with the Indian government to take off air taxis in Mumbai. Recently, Volocopter flew its air taxi for a five-minute-long test run in Dubai with UAE’s Crowned Prince on board. Incidentally, the German firm Volocopter is backed by a multinational company called Daimler; the parent firm behind Mercedes Benz.
Source:New York Times