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Pilotless Google FLYING TAXIS which can travel 93MPH being tested

FLYING taxis without pilots are being tested as part of a project backed by Google.


FUTURISTIC: A flying taxi is in testing – it has been revealed

Co-founder of the tech giant, Larry Page, is financially supporting the move.

Supporters say it will revolutionise personal transport.

Zephyr Airworks, a subsidiary of Page's company Kitty Hawk, is developing and testing the futuristic air taxis in New Zealand.


INNOVATIVE: Another type of flying car on show in New York

“We were pitching something that sounded like science fiction”

Fred Reid

Known as Cora, the electric aircraft has a dozen small lift rotors on its wings.

This makes it capable of vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter.

But developers say it is much quieter than a helicopter.

This means it could transport passengers in urban areas using rooftops and car parks as landing pads.

Zephyr chief executive Fred Reid said: “We are offering a pollution free, emission free vehicle that flies dependably, we think this is the logical next step in the evolution of transportation.”

The Cora prototype being tested uses three on-board computers to calculate its flight path and is capable of carrying two passengers.

The computers operate independently of each other for safety and the aircraft can deploy a parachute if anything goes wrong.

The aircraft, previously known as Zee.Aero, can travel 62 miles and reach speeds of 93mph and an altitude of 3,000 feet.

The Cora project envisages they will become so common that "air travel will be woven into our daily lives".

Zephyr said using them would be a simple experience for passengers.

"You wouldn't have to know anything about flying a plane. Cora could fly for you," the company said.

"And it would be all-electric, helping to build a sustainable world."

The aircraft will not be offered for sale, instead the public must book trips like they would with an airline or taxi service.

Zephyr said it would operate in a similar fashion to a car ride-share – like Uber – and is working on an app so customers could hail the air taxis on their mobile phones.

Reid said local officials embraced the idea.

"We had no idea what to expect," he said. 

"They could have laughed us out of the room. We were pitching something that sounded like science fiction."

Trialling the flying taxi service will take six years, with operations based around the city of Christchurch.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said: "This aircraft represents the evolution of the transport eco system to one that responds to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, and is kinder to the planet.”