Kitty Hawk, the Mountain View, Calif.-based flying car company founded and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, is offering a new glimpse of one its upcoming aircraft: a single-person recreational vehicle.
The Kitty Hawk Flyer sports 10 battery-powered propellers and two control sticks, and looks like a human-sized drone, according to photos and videos of the final design posted to the Kitty Hawk website on Wednesday morning. At first, it will go 20 miles per hour and fly up to 10 feet in the air, the company said.
An earlier prototype, introduced an article in the New York Times in early 2017, included protective netting around the pilot seat and a pair of red-tipped pontoons as landing gear.
The company didn’t say when the Flyer would go on sale or how much it would cost. It’s likely the vehicle will first be made available to luxury resorts or clubs as a form of recreation over open water, similar to the water jet pack.
The Flyer is one of two major initiatives at Kitty Hawk. The other, dubbed Cora, is a two-seat electric aircraft with 13 rotors that takes off and lands vertically and is designed as a transportation alternative in cities. The company is currently testing Cora in New Zealand. On its website, Kitty Hawk says the plan is to offer the aircraft as “part of a service similar to an airline or a rideshare.”
At least a dozen other companies around the world, including Airbus, Uber and a startup called Joby Aviation, are also pursuing the sci-fi dream of personal aircraft that can zoom over congested highways. While Kitty Hawk is developing single-seat and two-seat aircraft, other companies are looking at vehicles that seat from four to six, imagining this new form of transportation as akin to a flying taxi cab.
by Brad Stone