02/08/2019 – News / Aerospace / Boeing / Kitty Hawk Corporation / Flying Taxi / USA
Boeing forms strategic tie-up with flying taxi start-up Kitty Hawk
Aerospace giant Boeing and flying taxi start-up Kitty Hawk Corporation have announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility.
The new collaboration will bring together the innovation of Kitty Hawk’s Cora division with Boeing’s scale and aerospace expertise.
“Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future of mobility,” said Steve Nordlund, Vice President and General Manager of Boeing NeXt – the unit tasked with ‘laying the foundation for a next-generation mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist’, according to a statement from Boeing. “We have a shared vision of how people, goods and ideas will be transported in the future, as well as the safety and regulatory ecosystem that will underpin that transportation,” Mr Nordlund added.
Making safe electric flight a reality
Kitty Hawk was established in Mountain View, California, and gets its name from the beaches of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers took flight for the first time in 1903. The firm was set up “to advance technology in flight and bring new innovations to life,” according to Sebastian Thrun, the startup’s Co-founder and CEO – and also one of the minds behind Google X.
Mr Thrun has an impressive track record of developing innovative new technologies, including spearheading Google’s self-driving car project. “I am excited about our companies working together to accelerate making safe electric flight a reality,” he added.
Kitty Hawk’s ‘Cora’ (pictured) is an autonomous, fully-electric, two-person flying taxi that is said to have performed well during tests in New Zealand over the past 12 months. The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) taxi can reportedly reach speeds of around 110 miles per hour at altitudes anywhere from 500–3,000 feet. However, the aircraft is not ready for the paying public yet.
The agreement with Kitty Hawk Corp. is said to be “part of Boeing's disciplined, long-term strategy of entering into value-added partnerships that enhance and accelerate growth and deliver key differentiators for customers,” according to a statement by Boeing. The world’s largest aerospace company, which employs over 150,000 people worldwide, reported a record revenue of US$101.1 billion in 2018, reflecting strong growth across the firm’s portfolio.