Google founder Larry Page's flying taxi takes flight

The company is testing a new kind of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi, which is a completely different project from the one seen a year ago in a viral video of a single-pilot recreational aircraft, which was being tested over water.

Supporters of the project say the autonomous flying taxi, dubbed Cora, will revolutionise personal transport. A human test pilot took control of the proof of concept flyer last August and, after reaching agreements for the development and testing of the project with the government of New Zealand in October 2017, the first self-flying air taxi was shipped over. It can travel about 62 miles / 100 kilometers per trip, and hits maximum speeds of 110 mph / 180 kmh. Like Kitty Hawk's Cora, many rely on drone technology and vertical takeoff and landing, so they don't need a runway.

And New Zealand appears pretty keen to have Kitty Hawk flying around its country, presumably because its bored of being known as a nation full of sheep, hills and Hobbiton.

A privately funded company backed by a Google co-founder has revealed details of an eight-year-old project to develop an electric air taxi named Cora that has moved to New Zealand for flight testing and early commercial operations.

Larry Page tested a flying taxi this week in New Zealand.

But other companies are hot on their heels in the race to develop self-flying auto technology.

Kitty Hawk's Cora is completely autonomous, fully electric, and can travel at speeds of 93 miles per hour. There has been some speculation about the origin of Zephyr because it lists its chief executive as Fred Reid, who had also been listed as president of Zee Aero.

Kitty Hawk did its unveiling via a YouTube video and a statement that appeared to take a swipe at the U.S.'s aviation regulations.

It's not quite clear how Kitty Hawk's frustrations with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) played out.

New Zealand is truly the nexus point for fantasy lovers and futurists' dearest dreams.

All this sounds promising for the future of flying cars and taxis.

But skeptics warn that George and Jane Jetson have called air taxis many times in recent years, and they're still waiting. That may seem low, but Cora can fly in a straight line directly to a destination unlike vehicles have to go through the busy road networks.

Vanessa Coleman