05:08 GMT +322 September 2019
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    US Military Helps Fund Flying Taxi Startups With $2Mil Award - Reports

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Two start-up companies that are competing to build the world’s first operational flying taxis received $2 million from an obscure US Department of Defense unit charged with speeding up commercial innovation with potential military applications, according to published reports on Tuesday.

    Kitty Hawk and Joby Aviation received in 2017 nearly $2 million from the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), Defense Department organization founded to help the US military make faster use of emerging technologies, but neither company disclosed the funding at the time, the Guardian reported.

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    The flying taxis could offer a tactical nitch capability with a low acoustic signature, near instantaneous start and stop capabilities and the ability to spread an assault force across multiple vehicles, the report said.

    The companies are developing electric powered, remote-controlled aircraft that could fly as many as four passengers up to 150 miles on a single charge, according to the report.

    Kitty Hawk received permission for its two-seat Cora vehicle to fly over a sparsely populated area in the US state of California at altitudes of less than 200 feet, the report said. The vehicle combines 12 helicopter-style rotors for vertical takeoff and landing, with wings and a tail rotor for traditional horizontal flight.

    Joby Aviation also plans to test its four-passenger aircraft over farms and off the coast of California, the report added.

    DIUx said the Defense Department unit seeks to accelerate commercial innovation for national defense by providing capital to private companies.

    flying taxi, start-up, US Defense Department, United States
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