The secretive company, financed by Google co-founder Larry Page, has finally broken cover.
When reached for additional comment Tuesday, a Kitty Hawk spokesperson would only refer us to the company's fact sheet and website. The design is known as the Cora aircraft, a hybrid vertical take-off, and landing creation. Once it's in the air, all those propellers provide more traditionally plane-like forward thrust. It has a range of about 62 miles right now. The cabin will seat two passengers.
Testing of a self-piloted air taxi is taking place in Canterbury, with the hope the flying service could soon take to the skies.
Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern confirmed the news to the Times, saying the project is "about sending the message to the world that our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality".
Kitty Hawk and other companies now pursuing autonomous electric taxi services still face significant regulatory hurdles in the USA before the unique business models can become a reality.
The New York Times pointed out almost every prediction about how fast air taxis would take to the skies has been wrong - it remains to be seen if Kitty Hawk will be able to deliver.
The Cora already has experimental airworthiness certificates issued by both the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, and the United States Federal Aviation Administration. Flying cars are also proving to be big hits at auto shows - Airbus and Audi unveiled a concept at this year's Geneva Motor Show, alongside the Pal-V Liberty autogyro. In fact, he told me he believes that it will leapfrog autonomous cars sometime in the next few years, mostly because when you take to the skies, there are actually fewer problems to solve in terms of building a self-piloting system than when you're locked to the ground, which naturally means you're having to deal with pedestrians, other cars and more, with one less dimension to navigate.