As reported by The Verge, Kitty Hawk is the “flying car” company that’s financially backed by Google founder Larry Page, and today it has published the first video of its prototype aircraft (see video above).
The company describes the Kitty Hawk Flyer as an “all-electric aircraft” that is designed to operate over water and doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly.
Kitty Hawk promises people will be able to learn to fly the Flyer “in minutes.”
A consumer version will be available by the end of this year, the company says.
The video is part commercial and part test footage, starting with a lakeside conversation between friends about using the Flyer to meet up before switching to what The New York Times says are shots of an aerospace engineer operating the craft in Northern California.
Kitty Hawk hasn’t said exactly what the Flyer is for, nor has it set a price for the retail version. But the company is enticing eager pilots with a $100 three-year membership that offers priority placement on a waiting list, company-branded gear, and exclusive access to a flight simulator and company events. Members will also get a $2,000 discount off the eventual retail price.
The Flyer is considered to be an Ultralight aircraft per FAA regulations, which is why there’s no pilot’s license required. Kitty Hawk says that there are no plans to ship the vehicle outside the US.
Another flying car company Larry Page has invested in is Zee.Aero, which is part of Kitty Hawk. Bloomberg Businessweek reported last June that Page has personally invested in these two aviation startups.
Page is hardly alone in his interest in flying cars.
Industry giants like Airbus have proposed multiple takes on a flying car. Airbus’ new concept is a car, a drone, and a train all in one.
Dozens of other startups from around the world are also investing heavily in “flying cars,” also called VTOL (pronounced vee-tol) which stands for “vertical take-off and landing.”
And, coincidentally or not, Uber is holding a conference in Texas this week about its own flying car ambitions.
Related: Future of Transportation & Autonomous Flying Cars
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