Boeing has announced a partnership with eVTOL startup Kitty Hawk, whose all-electric aircraft "Cora" has reportedly flown over 700 times since March 2018.
Founded by Sebastian Thrun, a former Google executive and winner of a 2005 DARPA challenge involving robotic vehicles, Kitty Hawk hopes its two-seater will be part of the app-based flying taxi future – and it has made substantial progress. Cora has been flying autonomously around New Zealand for over a year, operating at heights of 500 to 3,000 feet and traveling up to 110 mph will a range of 62 miles.
Boeing, meanwhile – through its NeXT division – is working on Aurora, an electric four-seater with nine rotors that first flew in January. It's also one of Uber's six vehicle partners and a model was on display at Uber's Elevate Summit earlier this month.
"Kitty Hawk was started to advance technology in flight and bring new innovations to life," said Thrun. "I am excited about our companies working together to accelerate making safe electric flight a reality."
Few details were made public about the partnership, aside from a Boeing press release calling it "a strategic partnership to collaborate on future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility."
However, Cora has made more progress than the aircraft under development by Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences – based on what the company has made public, at least – and Kitty Hawk has considerably less resources than the aerospace giant, despite the backing of Alphabet CEO Larry Page.
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