In April of last year, Google co-founder Larry Page unleashed upon the world his idea for a flying electric car he was designing through a company called Kitty Hawk. The title, I’m assuming, was decided upon while he was tripping on mushrooms and he’s just too damn proud to change it. Page had a video for the understandably intrigued viewing public which show a prototype aircraft flying over water. However, the venture had to be approved by regulators before Page could turn it from hobby to marketable product.
As per The New York Times, Kitty Hawk will make an announcement on Tuesday stated that it has reached an agreement with New Zealand’s government to test its aircraft in an effort to get officially certified for flying within the country’s borders. But it doesn’t stop there! Page has set his sights even higher. Through a company in New Zealand called Zephyr Airworks, he hopes to launch a full-on flying taxi service, and furthermore thinks it will be fully operational in as little as three years.
The Kitty Hawk taxis will be autonomous flying cars without drivers. Terrifying. But maybe I’m behind the times. The 36-foot aircraft is called Cora and has 12 battery-powered rotors, with the ability to carry two passengers some 62 miles. Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern says the project is “about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality.”
Kitty Hawk, however, is not the first looking to create a line of flying taxis. Uber has similar aspirations, albeit with a far less ambitious timeline: 5-10 years. Airbus announced in October 2017 it’s testing an autonomous, self-flying electric vehicle as well, and other companies including Joby Aviations, Ehang, and Bell Helicopter are working on similar projects.