Last we wrote about Larry Page and his research into the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) Kitty Hawk project, his electric flying bicycle was taking off, virtually. In the meantime, “Cora” is now evolving in the air, this time in New Zealand.
Larry Page Flies Cora In New Zealand
Larry Page is keeping active with other technologies besides Google, which the co-founder agreed to rename Alphabet and is now its CEO. He also has a strong interest in flying cars. We previously looked into his Kitty Hawk project. Now, meet another electric flying taxi project, “Cora.”
Essentially, Cora is an air taxi that uses the results gathered from Page’s Kitty Hawk electric aircraft tests. Cora is intended to be used as an integrated part of a greater mobility network and won’t focus on more traditional sales to individuals.
Cora is an autonomous vehicle (AV) and is meant to be used as a self-flying aircraft. Its self-flying software controls 12 lift fans to hop from rooftops to rooftops. Fancy living in a penthouse and going to see another friend’s penthouse across the city? No problem and certainly no traffic jams here. Simply fly more or less straight to your destination while avoiding the streets.
The Cora’s performance is not too shabby either, and perhaps strikes the best overall balance we’ve seen so far. It seems to strike that fine line between usefulness and performance without looking like it was over-engineered. It was designed for two and only uses a single propeller for speeds of up to about 110 MPH. It can fly between 500 and 3,000 feet with its 36-foot wingspan (11 m). Initially, the Cora will reach 62 miles (100 km) at a speed of 110 MPH (180 km/h).
Is Cora The Commercial Aspect Of Kitty Hawk?
That would be hard to say, but Cora does certainly takes a lot from the Kitty Hawk experience.
Today, Kitty Hawk is Sebastian Thrun’s project, who came from Google X. However, Cora is a new venture, which so far seems to be based in New Zealand only. It does make a vague reference to something most people in the aviation world and the U.S. are familiar with, Kitty Hawk’s original take-off spot. The site mentions a certain future of the freedom of flight belonging to everyone. Everyone? If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is what the Wright Brothers did in North Carolina on their maiden and world-first flight. According to the New York Times, Cora has apparently interested local politicians, since the project just announced that the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has agreed to have the electric aircrafts tested there.
Flying taxis are getting closer. The question is no longer if they will happen but when. It reminds us a lot of the electric vehicle (EV) shake up we had a decade ago when carmakers were predicting the untimely death of EVs again. The two, three, and the four-wheel world is still growing and now the air is its next frontier.