South Island testing of autonomous air travel is being welcomed
by Christchurch Airport.
California-based company Kitty Hawk, operating as Zephyr
Airworks in New Zealand, has revealed it's testing the world's
first self-piloted and electric air taxi.
The airport company has been in discussions with the American
company for some time now, supporting its search for a suitable
test space for the autonomous air taxi, known as Cora.
Christchurch Airport Chief Executive, Malcolm Johns, says
innovation of new transport technology is actively being encouraged
in the South Island.
"With New Zealand's internationally respected aviation
certification processes, and the country's first on-road testing of
a fully autonomous electric vehicle, the South Island is the
obvious place to test Cora," he says.
"Christchurch Airport's growing reputation as a test bed for
innovation, and in particular autonomy, is growing, because we
combine the right physical environment for safe testing with
understanding of technological advances."
Mr Johns says it is fitting that this part of the world hosts
the trials of the electric self-piloting air taxi.
"Let's not forget this part of the world is where Richard Pearse
first pioneered flying, something we honour with a sculpture within
our airport terminal, so it's great to see this bold thinking being
revealed here too," he says.
"We are sure aviation and technology enthusiasts, as well as
people interested in seeing what the future can look like, will
take a keen interest in Cora."