Flying cars could soon become a reality

Andrew Cummings
June 9, 2018

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The group, named for the North Carolina town in which the Wright Brothers first took flight, previously showed off an all-electric autonomous flying taxi called the Cora.

The Flyer is one of two major initiatives at Kitty Hawk.

Test drives are underway for the Kitty Hawk Flyer, which is being called a "flying vehicle".

Initially focused on personal recreation, the small aircraft has a wingspan of 13 feet and takes off vertically (VTOL) via 10 independent lift fans.

Kitty Hawk, the California-based flying vehicle company founded by Google Alphabet CEO Larry Page, on Wednesday unveiled the final version of its latest model Flyer. It is now being tested in New Zealand and has been designed as a transportation alternative for cities with heavy traffic.

Kitty Hawk chief executive Sebastian Thrun, who founded the Google X lab devoted to "moonshots", such as self-driving cars and internet-synched eyewear, was quoted by CNN as saying piloting Flyer is as easy as playing the video game Minecraft.

"Making Flyer accessible, which is what we do at our Lake Las Vegas training facility, helps more people experience the freedom and possibilities of vehicles of the future", a Kitty Hawk spokeswoman told AFP.

Kitty Hawk-named after the North Carolina town where the Wright brothers made their famous flights-previously unveiled a prototype of the Flyer early previous year.

Kitty Hawk said at 15m away, it sounds about as loud as a lawnmower, while from 75m away, the volume is on a par with a loud conversation. The Flyer is essentially a drone big enough to carry a person, and according to its designers the controls can be mastered in as little as an hour. However, the company states that the Flyer is only to be used over water and uncongested areas, so don't imagine you'll be using one to skip the traffic in your daily commute just yet. Kitty Hawk operates on a "joy stick".

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