Watch: World's first self-piloted electric air taxi takes off in Christchurch

What's billed as the world's first self-piloted electric air taxi has been unveiled in Christchurch today by Zephyr Airworks.

Testing of the self-piloted air taxi is taking place in Canterbury.

The aircraft rises into the air like a helicopter, flies like a plane and then lands again like a helicopter.  

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the aircraft "represents the evolution of the transport eco system to one that responds to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, and is kinder to the planet".

"I have had the privilege of seeing the self-piloted air taxi and I am very excited about what it offers for future generations - to live and move in a way that has never been possible before," Ms Dalziel said. 

"Christchurch is committed to becoming carbon neutral and we are embracing future technologies in the areas of future transport, future foods, Antarctica and space technology, technical adventure clothing, social enterprise," she said.

Joanna Norris, chief executive of the city's economic development agency ChristchurchNZ, says it has been working closely with Zephyr Airworks "and this partnership is a significant demonstration of our joint commitment to finding ways to improve future ways of living".

"Trials such as this allow us to consider future possibilities for transport which could have far reaching benefits to everyday travel and could even support our growing tourism market, enabling people to enjoy our beautiful place safely," Ms Norris said. 

Christchurch is exploring other methods of future transportation with projects in the city such as the Omhio autonomous vehicle trial and the Yoogo electric car sharing scheme.