Flying cars have been one of the dreams of a truly science fiction future since at least the Fifties. Almost every science fiction movie or series out there has its own rendition of these hovering crafts. But these stereotypically futuristic vehicles might not be limited to The Jetson’s metropolis or the bustling skies of Coruscant in Star Wars for very long.
Kitty Hawk — a California-based startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page— has released footage of its brand new flying taxi, called Cora, soaring above New Zealand.
The all-electric, self-piloting cab looks like a mashup of a crop duster and a quadcopter. This hybrid vehicle can reach speeds of more than 90 miles per hour and can travel at least 60 miles. That’s not bad at all for an oversized drone.
The company has fused key design elements of an airplane and a helicopter in an attempt to make airborne transportation more commonplace.
“Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you,” explains Kitty Hawk’s website. “That’s why Cora can take off and land like a helicopter, eliminating the need for runways. Cora has the potential to transform spaces like rooftops and parking lots into places to take off right from your neighborhood.”
This isn’t the first time Kitty Hawk has teased one of its flying electric vehicles. Back in April 2017, the company revealed footage of its “Flyer”, which was essentially a real-life version of a speeder bike from Star Wars. But people weren’t exactly thrilled with this first take on a flying car.
However, Cora shows a little more promise than its predecessors. It looks more like a car, it’s completely autonomous, and according to Kitty Hawk’s site it doesn’t need anything special to make it fly.
Companies like Uber and Airbus have been rushing towards commercialized flying taxies for years. Kitty Hawk’s newly revealed footage suggests there have been strides in the business, and there might even be room for collaboration.
Who knows, in a few years we might be able to hail a giant drone taxi straight from our phones.