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Air New Zealand to launch the world's first self-piloted air taxi service

Cora/Facebook

Air New Zealand and Zephyr Airworks have signed an agreement to bring the world’s first autonomous electric air taxi service to New Zealand.

The agreement between the national carrier and autonomous air taxi operator Cora signals the intention to form a long-term relationship to make autonomous, electric air travel a reality for all New Zealanders.

The air taxis produce no emissions and are self-piloted through software, so those using them as transport do not need a pilot’s licence. No runway is required, either, because they take off like a helicopter. The current model has a range of about 100 kilometres and can travel at about 150km/h.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said the airline was committed to embracing new technologies that made life easier, as well as understanding the potential of cleaner energy solutions for travel.

“Zephyr Airworks is leading the way in re-defining personal mobility to make it easier for all of us to get around. Zephyr Airworks’ innovative technology and commitment to New Zealand make them an ideal partner for advancing the future of travel in New Zealand.

“Both companies see the potential for our airspace to free people from the constraints of traffic and its associated social, economic and environmental impacts.

“Through the development of their autonomous electric air taxi Cora, the possibility of getting from A to B quickly and safely, and also relieving the impact of polluting emissions, is very real indeed,” he said.

“The announcement today is the start of a long-term relationship. We’ve been impressed with Zephyr Airworks’ innovative and considered approach and our core values are aligned when it comes to delivering reliable, convenient and sustainable air travel that will benefit all New Zealanders.”

Zephyr Airworks chief exective Fred Reid said the company was delighted to be fostering a close relationship with Air New Zealand.

“With its culture of innovation, high standards, and vision for a sustainable future, Air New Zealand is the perfect partner to help us reinvent mobility for everyday flight in New Zealand.

“One day, everyday people across the globe will be able to use Cora to bring flight into their lives. While we are not at that point yet, we are showing people what is possible. That is why we are excited to be drawing on Air New Zealand’s wealth of operational expertise in the New Zealand market.”

Working with New Zealand regulatory agencies, government, community, iwi and business, Zephyr Airworks is also connecting with local communities to make sure everyday flight becomes a reality for people around the world.

“With our aircraft Cora, we are building on eight years of research, development and leading 21st century technology. We are applying everything that revolutionised the world of communications to transport – we are showing people what is possible. There is also the long-term economic and environmental advantages that will benefit future generations.”

This article first appeared on Stuff.co.nz. Read the original here.

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