Kitty Hawk's autonomous air taxi lifts off in New Zealand

Larry Page's venture says that New Zealand offered the "bold and dynamic" commercial market necessary to launch the air taxi, called Cora.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

After eight years of quiet development, the Larry Page-backed firm Kitty Hawk has unveiled its autonomous flying taxi, called Cora.

Kitty Hawk is bringing Cora to the commercial market in New Zealand, the company announced, hailing the nation's forward-looking vision and strong regulatory environment.

"We needed a place that was just as bold and dynamic in order to bring Cora to the commercial market," the company said in a blog post. "A place that could be more than just a willing airfield. That had a world class reputation in certification and regulation. And a government and society with an eye to the horizon."

The aim is to launch a commercial network of flying taxis in as soon as three years, according to The New York Times. Kitty Hawk has been conducting a series of stealth test flights in New Zealand since October.

The partnership could put New Zealand and Kitty Hawk ahead of a pack of other governments and private ventures attempting to make history with autonomous flying taxis. Dubai, in conjunction with German company Volocopter, began testing electric taxi drones in September 2017. Airbus and Uber have also been working on their own autonomous air taxis.

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