Flying cars are now more than just an idea, as many big names are working day and night to get their concepts to the production floor. One such name is Kitty Hawk, which has finally come up with some information on its product. This mysterious flying car startup backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page will release its first vehicle by the year’s end.
Kitty Hawk – a “toy helicopter”
On Monday, Kitty Hawk President Sebastian Thrun tweeted a link to the company’s website, which shows a prototype in action. Thrun helped Google develop its self-driving car. According to the website, this flying car is safe and has been tested; it can even be operated in the U.S. (in uncongested areas). A driver does not need a license for this car, and he/she can easily learn how to drive it in just a few hours, the company says.
According to The New York Times, this flying car is like a “toy helicopter” and weighs about 100kg. It can go up to 25 miles per hour. Similar to a helicopter, it takes off and lands vertically, but it is 100% electric and powered by eight rotors. The prototype appears and feels like a “flying motorcycle. You mount the seat and lean forward, just like you would on a bike.” The car’s controls are built into a set of handlebars which works very similar to a video game’s buttons and joysticks, the report says.
As of now, there is no information on how much it will cost, but according to The New York Times, the company is offering a discount of $2,000 to early adopters who are willing to invest $100 now. This initial investment not only gets you a discount but also a few test flights with the Kitty Hawk.
Others in the race to develop a flying car
AeroMobil unveiled the first commercially-available flying car last week. AeroMobil’s teardrop-shaped AeroMobil Flying Car will be available by 2020 but will cost a whopping £1 million. It is a petrol-powered car which can take off on a grassy or paved runway of just few hundred meters long. The car’s wings can be folded to fit in ordinary parking spaces. The flying car, which is now available for pre-order, can switch to flight mode in less than three minutes, notes the Mirror.
Airbus also announced two different vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) concepts. The company is reportedly planning to conduct an initial test flight later this year. Last month at the Geneva International Motor Show, the company introduced an autonomous vehicle called the Pop.Up, which can travel on the ground and in the air.
Also recently, Dubai partnered with the Chinese firm Ehang, to come up with an autonomous flying taxi by July. Further, on Tuesday, Uber will kick off its first Elevate Summit. It’s a three-day conference in Dallas on vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Though Uber doesn’t plan to develop its own flying car, it will assist others with such technology, notes The Verge.