Google founder-backed flying taxi has been quietly doing tests in New Zealand

 
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Cora was founded and developed by Silicon-Valley based Kitty Hawk (Source: Getty)

A flying taxi start-up backed by Google founder Larry Page is being tested in New Zealand as the world advances towards autonomous vehicles.

Cora, founded and developed by Silicon-Valley based Kitty Hawk, said its operator in New Zealand Zephyr Airworks was already working with government, businesses and local communities to get the venture up and running in the next few years.

"After a global search for a partner, Cora has landed in New Zealand to start a new phase of evolution," Kitty Hawk said on its website. "With its commitment to innovation and forward thinking regulatory ecosystem, New Zealand is the perfect collaborator."

Cora is just one of many sustainable energy alternatives put forward by startups looking to ease pressures on the environment. It has been built to "rise like a helicopter and fly like a plane" meaning it does not need to fly from a runway like conventional aircraft.

Airbus and Mercedes-Benz have also developed similar ideas for driverless vehicles. Airbus has designed a driverless taxi that passengers can summon with their phone, while Mercedes' Future Bus can self-drive like a truck with highway pilot.

Kitty Hawk revealed its first prototype last year, the Kitty Hawk flyer. The "all-electric vehicle" flies over water and drivers won't need a pilot's license.

Read more: Flying taxis and London shuttles: Five of the coolest driverless concepts

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