It has been three years since we got our first look at Cora, an electric vertical take-off and landing plane that counts Google co-founder Larry Page among its backers. Last year, Wisk, the company behind Cora, announced a memorandum of understanding with New Zealand to move to passenger testing but I didn’t say when it would happen.
Now Wisk has announced that he is progressing through New Zealand Airspace Integration Test Program, and plans to begin implementation later this year. Wisk tells FlightGlobal that the ‘implementation’ phase will not include passenger flights as a first step, it instead focuses on collecting data to help safely integrate drones like Cora – which relies on three flight computers to perform all piloting – in airspace systems.
Wisk CEO Gary Gysin said in a statement that New Zealand is “uniquely positioned as a leader in autonomous UAM integration testing” because of its “relatively unencumbered airspace and culture. innovative early adoption “, as well as flexibility for remotely piloted aircraft. Planning for passenger flights to Canterbury that were announced last year continues, but there is still no date for their departure.