Google co-founder's Kitty Hawk unveils is electric autonomous flying taxi

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        Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Yup it’s a plane

Kitty Hawk is run by former Google X head Sebastian Thrun, while Cora's initial blog post makes out New Zealand as its base to make a future "where the freedom of flight belongs to everyone" in the same way that the Wright Brothers initially took off in North Carolina. Meanwhile, Google's Larry Page has been funding a company that will bypass all of that.

"This is a fully electric aircraft that rises into the air like a helicopter, flies like a plane and then lands again like a helicopter", she explained.

The combination of electric power, self-piloting software and vertical take-off pioneers a new way to fly. Kitty Hawk and other companies now pursuing autonomous electric taxi services still face significant regulatory hurdles in the U.S. before the unique business models can become a reality.

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern confirmed the news to the Times, saying the project is "about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality".

Flight tests soon followed under an experimental airworthiness certificate from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority and the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

This time around, though, Kitty Hawk's ambitions are bigger.

Kitty Hawk had previously tested another flying vehicle prototype called the "Flyer" last April. The company plans to build, own and operate a fleet of Cora's, providing an on-demand self-flying taxi service.

Larry Page aims for air taxis in New Zealand
Say Hello to Cora, the New Flying Taxi From a Secretive Startup Funded by Google's Larry Page

Cora has been designed for two passengers.

You can watch the air taxi in action on YouTube.

The thirteen-rotor aircraft is capable of vertical lift and of fixed wing flight.

Once it's in the air, a single propeller drives Cora at about 110 miles per hour, between altitudes of 500 and 3,000 feet.

Several other companies, including Uber and Airbus, are also racing to commercialize flying taxis.

You can find out more on the Cora project in the launch video below.

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