Flying taxi unveiled in New Zealand
Lately, the headlines surrounding the taxi industry have been dominated by the promise and development of autonomous cars, automobiles that either minimise or completely alleviate the need for a human to control the vehicle.
In New Zealand, a pioneering firm called Cora – supported by Google co-founder Larry Page – has recently taken this one step further by revealing a self-driving, fully electric car – which will be available for ride-hire – which needs neither human drivers nor human roads, and will use air travel to ferry passengers from A to B instead.
Cora’s flying car is known as an ‘eVTOL’, which is short for electric Vertical Take Off and Landing. The prototype model will be able to reach speeds of up to 110mph, cover 100km with a single charge, and manoeuvre through a combination of ‘human oversight’ and ‘self-flying software’.
In a promotional video for the invention, New Zealand’s minister for research, science and innovation, Dr Megan Woods, welcomed the technology and its prospects for New Zealand’s renewable future. ‘We want to get to net zero emissions by 2050’, she said, ‘and that includes mobility’.
Meanwhile, Steve Wright of The University of West England praised the technological ingenuity that’s gone into the vehicle, saying that ‘vertical take-off and then changing to winged-flight is quite a feat of engineering. We have been doing it for a long time but that doesn't stop it being hard. Doing it with batteries is even more impressive.’
‘For 150 years engineers have been spoiled by hydrocarbons - petrol and oil - because they stuff a huge amount of energy into a small space,’ he continued. Everyone would dearly love a battery that could store 10 or 15 times as much charge.
‘That's why Cora has a fairly short range but that's fine - there will be a good market for it in the crowded mega-cities of the future.’
It’s currently unclear as to when we can expect to see these vehicles taking to the skylines of the UK, but, either way, be sure to keep an eye on the skies – we'll most certainly be doing it too!