Zephyr Airworks, Kitty Hawk’s operator in New Zealand, just announced that they entered into a partnership with Air New Zealand. Kitty Hawk is the company behind the Cora passenger or taxi drone and is funded by Google co-founder Larry Page and CEO-ed by Sebastian Thrun, the self-driving car pioneer who is the founding director of Google’s X lab.
The collaboration between Zephyr Airworks and Air New Zealand aims to bring the world’s first autonomous electric air taxi service to market in New Zealand. Various companies around the world are working to bring air taxis or passenger drones to the market. Other examples are Volocopter, Workhorse, eHang, Airbus and Bell Helicopter.
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Air New Zealand partners with Zephyr Airworks to bring air taxis to New Zealanders
Air New Zealand and Zephyr Airworks today announced they have signed an agreement to work collaboratively on bringing the world’s first autonomous electric air taxi service to market in New Zealand.
The agreement between the national carrier and the operator of Cora, the world’s first autonomous electric air taxi, signals the intention to form a long-term relationship to make autonomous, electric air travel a reality for all New Zealanders.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the airline is committed to embracing new technologies that make 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.
“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 Executive Fred Reid says the company is delighted to be fostering a close relationship with one of the world’s top-rated and successful airlines.
“Air New Zealand is one of Aotearoa’s best-known international brands. 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,” says Mr Reid.
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