It seems Alphabet CEO Larry Page is now one step closer to realizing his childhood dream of driving a flying car — which looked like a massive human-powered quadcopter, not sure! Such innovative flying vehicles have only existed in science fiction till date. But we’re feasting our eyes on a real-life, noise-making “flying car” developed by the aviation startup Kitty Hawk.
Backed by Larry Page, Kitty Hawk had been building its flying vehicle prototype for quite some time. It has today shared the video of its enormous hovercraft’s first flight over a scenic lake around 100 miles north of San Francisco on the interwebs. This vehicle we’ve been referring to as the flying car actually appears to be more like a scaled-up version of a quadcopter — which have been popularized of recent in the past couple years.
Most automobile and technology giants are developing autonomous vehicles which drive themselves on the ground, powered either by traditional fuels or electric battery packs. The vehicle Kitty Hawk has built doesn’t exactly work on the ground, well why it would? The company describes itself as an ‘all-electric aircraft’ that works only on water. So instead of popularizing it as the first flying car, we can probably see this vehicle as a high-end and powerful jet ski that flies.
There is currently no info available on the capabilities and pricing of Kitty Hawk Flyer (which is its official name), but it can seat only one individual atop its 220-pound skeleton. From the looks of it, we can further witness the inclusion of a touchscreen which should work even during wet conditions and a controller to give the flying aircraft the necessary direction.
Further, the Flyer has been recognized as an Ultralight aircraft as per FAA regulations in the United States. Thus, the aviation startup claims that people will be able to learn to fly their vehicle in minutes — that too without the need for a pilot’s license. Kitty Hawk may have demoed its flying aircraft but hasn’t exactly defined how it plans to market the vehicle to the consumers. It has only mentioned that a consumer-focused retail variant of their one-seater will become available by the end of this year.
While the rumor mill caught wind of Kitty Hawk earlier last year, the company’s division called Zee.Aero had already caught limelight much before them. The reason behind the latter gaining traction were speculations that Larry Page had invested $100 million into the venture since it was founded in 2010. The startup is working out of an industrial complex near the Google headquarters and Page has been referred to as GUS — the guy from upstairs. Zee.Aero is developing larger flying vehicles that are capable of commuting within an urban area to work, school or anywhere else.
Currently, the Larry Page-backed aviation company is attracting eager consumers by offering them a $100 three-year membership plan. It offers them placement on a waiting list, own branded equipment, and exclusive access to the flight simulator and company events — much like this test flights and prototype tests. They’ll also be provided with a $2,000 discount on the original retail price as well. It is not only being aimed at hobbyists but the general crowd is being looked after as well.
Now, for your knowledge, Kitty Hawk is not the only company working on the development of flying cars. There are dozen of other startups developing flying vehicles, but larger technology giants such as Uber are also working on the same. The ride-hailing giant is holding its first Elevate Summit this week to detail how it plans to develop flying cars — which will eventually make their way to their platform. Also, we just witnessed the first electric flying car take flight from a standstill and Airbus is also said to be working on their own flying cars as well.
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