Self-flying air taxi lifts off in New Zealand

Latest news

    Cora self-flying air taxiImage copyright Cora

    A firm funded by Google founder Larry Page has unveiled an electric, self-flying air taxi that can travel at up to 180 km/h (110mph).

    It can do 100 km on a single charge, and it takes off and lands vertically.

    It will eventually be available to customers as a service “similar to an airline or a rideshare” said parent company Kitty Hawk on the Cora website.

    It operates using “self-flying software combined with human oversight”, it added.

    The aircraft has been developed in New Zealand, where the government said it welcomed the project because of its environmental credentials.

    “We’ve got ambitious goals here in New Zealand, we want to get to net zero emissions by 2050 and that includes mobility,” said Dr Megan Woods, minister for research, science and innovation, in a promotional video for the aircraft.

    The firm said it is now working “constructively” with aviation regulatory authorities but declined to put a date on when Cora might start work.

    ‘Engineering feat’

    This type of aircraft is known as an eVTOL – which stands for electric Vertical Take Off and Landing.

    One expert told the BBC that while there are many varieties of eVTOL in development – mostly in secret – Cora was an interesting model.

    “Vertical take-off and then changing to winged-flight is quite a feat of engineering,” said Steve Wright, associate professor in aerospace engineering at the University of the West of England.

    “We have been doing it for a long time but that doesn’t stop it being hard. Doing it with batteries is even more impressive.”

    However he said that battery tech was holding back innovation.

    “For 150 years engineers have been spoiled by hydrocarbons – petrol and oil – because they stuff a huge amount of energy into a small space,” said Prof Wright.

    “Everyone would dearly love a battery that could store 10 or 15 times as much charge.

    “That’s why Cora has a fairly short range but that’s fine – there will be a good market for it in the crowded mega-cities of the future.”

    However the passenger drone concept has so far proved difficult to get off the ground in practice.

    A test flight at the tech fair CES of a people-carrying drone by SureFly was cancelled due to light rain in January, and Dubai has yet to introduce the self-flying taxi service it initially said would commence in July 2017.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43386917

    In September the firm behind it, Volocopter, said it hoped the taxis would be operational within five years.

    In the same category are

    Who was the mysterious gardener Miss Harrison? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Women have gardened for centuries, but the profession was once a male-dominated world It's a tale of in...
    Jeremy Hunt: Don’t mistake politeness for weakness Image copyright Getty Images Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged the EU not to mistake British politeness for weakness after Brexit negotiations...
    Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic lose in Laver Cup doubles Federer and Djokovic relished the rare opportunity to play doubles togetherFormer world number ones Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic lost in the Lave...
    Man stabbed to death in Hackney flat fight Image caption Two men were found suffering from stab injuries following a fight in a flat in Wilderton Road, Stamford Hill A man has been stabbed ...
    Petrol prices could fall by £1.50 a tank, says the AA Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Average petrol prices hit 130.6p a litre this week, and diesel rose to 134.6p Petrol prices could fall ...
    Deadly gun attack at Iran military parade Gunmen have opened fire during an Iranian military parade in the south-western city of Ahvaz, killing several people and injuring at least 20 people...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.