Google co-founder Larry Page is testing flying taxis in New Zealand

Google co-founder Larry Page is testing flying taxis in New Zealand

It took eight years to design the device. Kitty Hawk

On Tuesday, the co-founder of Google, which funds the aviation company Kitty Hawk, introduced the Kura, a self-driving, electric flying taxi. He wants to launch a commercial service within three years.

To relieve congestion in cities and reduce car traffic, Elon Musk is digging tunnels. According to Google co-founder Larry Page, who finances the airline Kitty Hawk, we should not go through the subway, but through the sky. The company intends to deploy a fleet of self-driving flying taxis in New Zealand, halfway between a drone and an airplane.

First spotted by The New York TimesThese strange machines were publicly unveiled on Tuesday by Larry Page and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The device took eight years to design and was done in complete secrecy. Testing began in October.

These futuristic taxis are eleven meters long, have twelve rotors and can carry up to two passengers. They are called “Kora”. It is self-driving and electric, and the propeller placed at the back allows it to fly at a speed of about 170 km/h. Korra is able to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. This allows it to be comfortable in an urban environment, and to use, for example, parking spaces to drop off or pick up passengers, rather than cumbersome landing strips. These self-driving taxis are also connected, as it will be possible to call them via the app.

Kitty Hawk hopes to obtain the necessary approvals to launch a commercial service in New Zealand within three years. Such a delay would give it the potential to pull the rug out from under Uber, which unveiled its Elevate division last November, also dedicated to developing a flying taxi service. Boeing, which bought Aurora Flight Sciences, is also interested in the topic, as is Chinese company Ehang. Tuesday’s announcement of the start of the regulatory process between the New Zealand administration and Kitty Hawk puts Larry Page’s company at the head of the pack for the time being.

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