Tiny steps to flying taxis

A company branded as Larry Page, for example, announced passenger testing last year, but it doesn’t seem to be happening this year.It’s been three years since Cora first introduced herself. With the electric-powered aircraft structure, a startup called Kitty Hawk, founded in 2016, came up with an interesting fact that one of its main investors is none other than Larry Page, co-founder of Google.

The introduction at the time revealed that the vehicle could carry a maximum height of 900 meters and could carry a maximum of two passengers over a distance of 100 kilometers. Compared to airplanes, the Cora is almost silent, in return there is no danger of exceeding the speed of sound, as it flies in the sky with a rather modest power of about 150-170 kilometers per hour. The peculiarity of the aircraft is that it behaves like a helicopter when taking off and landing, which makes it much easier to take off and find the right landing location.

Passengers’ sense of security is planned to be greatly enhanced by the fact that, in addition to the triple-over-insured technology, the autopilot can be replaced at any time by a skilled operator who monitors remotely. The first experimental rounds started a long time ago with Cora, but much more is needed for a business launch.

The startup entered into a partnership with New Zealand in 2018 to work together on air transport renewal. The country is otherwise an ideal terrain for test flights, as on the one hand the government is committed to environmentally friendly technologies and on the other hand it is a huge region where traditional road transport is not easy and especially fast in many places with varied terrain.

A year later, there was a significant change in the line-up as Boeing joined as a manufacturing partner, resulting in a joint venture called Wisk in 2019. The next milestone was announced in February 2020, when the company announced its readiness to launch passenger tests with the New Zealand authorities. However, there is still a long way to go, as according to a statement published this week, it is still only a matter of preparing for the work that has been heralded for a year.

Based on the latter, the parties will only be able to reach the implementation phase this year under the Airspace Integration Trials program. It is not yet a question of flying people, but instead of collecting thorough data so that stakeholders (government agencies, air traffic control, communication providers, etc.) can get a proper picture of the potential introduction of air taxis.

As you can see from the above, in spite of the news slowly coming for decades about the advent of the futuristic traffic known from the Jetson family cartoon series, we still have to sleep a lot. Of course, there is no shortage of trying people, and things are going to be quite promising for one character or another. Recently, for example, in connection with the German Volocopter, we wrote that the company was so confident in launching its service that it had already started selling the first tickets.

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