Larry Page's Flying Taxis, Now Exiting Stealth Mode
Since October, a mysterious(神秘的)flying object has been seen moving through the skies over the South Island of New Zealand. It looks like a cross between a small plane and a drone(雄蜂), with a series of small rotor(转子)blades along each wing that allow it to take off like a helicopter and then fly like a plane. To those on the ground, it has always been unclear whether there was a pilot aboard(在飞机上).
Well, it turns out that the airborne(空运的)vehicle has been part of a series of "stealth" test flights by a company personally financed by Larry Page, the co-founder of Google.
The company, known as Kitty Hawk, has been testing a new kind of fully electric, self-piloting flying taxi. The planes operate there in what has been a covert(隐蔽的)project, under a company called Zephyr Airworks.
Now that project is about to go public: On Tuesday, Mr. Page's company and the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, will announce they have reached an agreement to test Kitty Hawk's autonomous(自治的)planes as part of an official certification process. The decision to embrace(拥抱)the commercial use of flying taxis offers New Zealand an opportunity to leapfrog(跃过)many developed countries in this area.
从去年10月开始，一种神秘的飞行器就一直在新西兰南岛上空来往穿梭。最近，这些飞行器神秘的面纱慢慢被掀开，这正是谷歌联合创始人、现任谷歌母公司Alphabet CEO的拉里·佩奇（Larry Page）个人投资研发的新项目——测试一款全新的纯电动无人驾驶空中出租车。拉里·佩奇此举一方面可能是为了叫板Uber，想抢在Uber之前建立无人驾驶飞行出租车网络，但更重要的可能是他要趁机彰显自己想用科技征服天空的野心以及谷歌在科技领域独一无二的霸主地位。
covert /ˈkəʊvəːt, ˈkʌvət/