Kitty Hawk, the ambitious “flying car” startup financed by Google co-founder Larry Page, is winding down, which the company established in a brief post on LinkedIn earlier today.
According to a statement from Insider, sources inside the company expressed Kitty Hawk had already shut down an assignment on the 100-mile-capable Heaviside vehicle.
Insider also documents that Page had become increasingly hands-off from the company but said he was more closely engaged with its shift to research and development after the end of the Heaviside project.
Kitty Hawk pledged small electric flying vehicles designed for recreation and transportation funded by Google co-founder Larry Page — but in the years since its 2017 reveal, it hasn’t begotten any of them.
Although Kitty Hawk is shuttering the expansion of its aircraft, at least one project will rise in its joint venture company with Boeing: Wisk Aero. “Today’s news does not affect Wisk. We stay in a strong financial and strategic position, with Boeing and Kitty Hawk as investors,” said Wisk representative Chris Brown. At the beginning of this year, Boeing sunk another $450 million into Wisk Aero during its last funding round.
Kitty Hawk revealed itself in 2017 when the company released a video of its “Flyer” personal transport vehicle, ahead of another autonomous aircraft it developed called Cora, which spun off to become Wisk Aero.
The Flyer was among the first vehicles to appear during an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) boom that eventually included others like Toyota-backed Joby Aviation, Volocopter, and Lilium, as well as projects from established names like Bell Helicopter and Uber. And in 2018, The Verge discovered that Larry Page owns another flying car company, Opener.
But when the startup couldn’t find a viable business path for the Flyer, it shifted focus to Heaviside — and now even that is toast.
Kittyhawk was building autonomous, affordable, ubiquitous, and eco-conscious air taxis. It was founded by self-driving car pioneer Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page; Kittyhawk has been advancing aviation for over a decade and has built and flown over 100 aircraft.
If anyone can do this, we can. The latest publicly emitted all-electric aircraft can autonomously take off, fly and land without any human pilot on an undersized landing pad only slightly larger than its wingspan. It is ultra-quiet and battery-efficient, passing hundreds of miles on a single charge, and is almost silenced within 30 seconds of takeoff.
Inspired by that, they’re working on a next-gen commercial design. However, the ambitions for the next-generation aircraft are even bolder.
They’re reinventing the future of aviation by applying modern technology to traditional aviation principles to reimagine advanced air mobility. They’re building flying vehicles that are affordable, autonomous, and ubiquitous.
Features of Kitty Hawk
- Remotely-Piloted: Airtaxi will be commanded by a ground operator overseeing multiple vehicles, keeping costs competitive with ridesharing apps.
- Small and Quiet: First commercial model will have just a single seat for the passenger. That means no pooling with strangers. And more minor is quieter.
- Low Cost: An aircraft can be made at an automotive scale and automotive cost. You can bring flight to more people sooner.
- Easier to use: Kittyhawk vehicles have the smallest footprint of any winged air taxi in the industry; you can take off and land in more places closer to you.