The flying car backed by Google’s cofounder just got a big update, and people can pilot it with less than an hour’s training

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Kitty Hawk, the mysterious flying-car startup funded by the Google cofounder Larry Page, unwrapped its updated vehicle on Wednesday.

The Flyer is now open for test flights for prospective customers, and the CNN reporter Rachel Crane was the first journalist allowed to pilot the vehicle.

Kitty Hawk promises to get people in the air in less than an hour because of the Flyer’s simple control system, which comprises just two joysticks.

The startup’s CEO said that securing public acceptance for the Flyer is its biggest priority and that he hopes to learn a lot from the test flights.

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Isreal’s self -flying ‘Cormorant’ whisks wounded soldiers to safety

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Tactical Robotics’ Cormorant can carry up to 1,000 pounds and offers a range of 20 miles while flying at more than 100 mph.TACTICAL ROBOTS

FIVE MEN IN white overalls lifted the stretcher off the ground, one of them taking care to lay a clear plastic IV bag that’s connected to the patient onto his stomach. They marched him toward what looks like a black inflatable dinghy on small wheels, crossed with a fly. The stretcher was loaded in through a hatch on the side, and then the men stood back.

The patient was actually a medical training mannequin, but that didn’t stop him (it, rather) from taking part in the first “mission representative” demonstration of a new aircraft. That bean-shaped thing is called the Cormorant, and it was built by Israel-based Tactical Robotics to make battlefield evacuations—which today rely on helicopters—quicker and safer, thanks to a new design and the fact that there’s no human pilot involved.

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Here are the most amazing flying car designs featured at Uber’s elevate conference

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Aircraft makers—from multinational giants to garage startups—offer a crazy variety of visions for air taxis that Uber might use.

The early days of flight saw a huge variety of designs—featuring oddities like planes with what we now call the “tail” in the front of the vehicle. After a few decades, the industry settled on the standard forms we recognize today based on cost and efficiency. But today electric technologies have made it possible to widen the space of what’s possible in terms of style, design, and material. “We’re at the same exciting period where we’re like, ‘Well, what is this supposed to look like?’” says Mark Moore, director of engineering, vehicle systems for the Uber Elevate air taxi program. “And no one, including myself, really knows the answer.”

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Tomorrow’s airplane cabins could be more luxurious than your apartment

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Let’s face it, flying is often a chore. Those tiny seats. That limited legroom. And airlines’ constant push to make the flying experience more miserable.

That reality seems really far from the potential future presented at last week’s 12th annual Crystal Cabin Awards, a ceremony honoring innovative aircraft cabin concepts in Hamburg, Germany. These designs make today’s first class look totally pedestrian.

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Rocket Lab readies its first commercial launch

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Rocket Lab’s Electron booster stands on the launchpad during testing

Following a successful January test launch that saw its Electron booster reach orbit for the first time, Rocket Lab is now getting down to business. The US-based private space firm and its wholly owned New Zealand-based subsidiary have announced plans to go ahead with its first fully commercial mission, with the launch window to open later this month.

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Electric aircraft could soon become an industry standard

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The aviation industry is on the verge of a major shift in propulsion, experts say.

This story was originally published by Flying Magazine.

As part of Siemens Innovation Day held recently in Chicago—created, in part, to highlight the company’s progress to date in the world of electric and hybrid electric aircraft—the German industrial giant offered a first U.S. look at its electric GA aircraft, a Magnus LSA fitted with a 55-kW Siemens electric motor.

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Air travelers resisting the ‘incredible shrinking airline seat ‘

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Spirit Airlines, at least, is honest about the tight quarters on its planes. “We’re a cozy airline,” it says on its website. “We add extra seats to our planes so we can fly with more people. This lowers ticket prices for everyone, just like a car pool.”

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