Google’s co-founder (now Alphabet CEO) Larry Page had two “flying car” projects in the works. We have seen Flyer recreational vehicle unveiled last year, well, it’s time to meet Cora, an autonomous air taxi.
What Is Cora?
It is an air taxi developed by Page’s Kitty Hawk company, backed by former Google X head Sebastian Thrun. It an electric aircraft which is intended to use as a transportation service, not for sale to individual users. It is built to use self-flying software, in addition to that, it has a 12 lift fan for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) like a helicopter, apparently avoiding to have a runway.
It depends on the single propeller, which drives Cora at about 110 miles per hour, at an altitude of 500 and 3000 feet. The flight has three independent flight-computers and can navigate even if one goes down. Each rotor works independently and if anything goes wrong, the plane has a parachute for landing without its fans.
Into The Future With Cora
Cora has made New Zealand as its base, a place where the freedom of flight belongs to everyone. The company will join with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to announce an agreement to test the vehicles there.
A timeline on the website shows how far things have come over the course of years, from its first hover in 2011 to first self-piloted transition in 2014 to the beginning of self-piloted testing in New Zealand last October. Well, we are yet to see what it is capable of, only future will tell. Do note, there are other “air taxi” concepts too, such as Ehang and Uber Elevate, but they aren’t operational yet.