Kittyhawk, a flying car startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, is ‘off the runway’ and shutting down
In June 2018, we wrote about Kittyhawk when the unmanned aircraft systems startup backed by billionaire Google co-founder Larry Page raised $5 million from Boeing HorizonX Ventures and other investors to bring fast and compact flying cars to the masses. Four years later, Kittyhawk has “crash landed” it’s shutting down its operations.
Yesterday, Kittyhawk announced it will be closing down, dealing a major setback to the long-elusive dream of developing compact flying cars. “We have made the decision to wind down Kittyhawk. We’re still working on the details of what’s next.,” the company wrote in a Twitter post.
We have made the decision to wind down Kittyhawk. We're still working on the details of what's next.
— Kittyhawk (@kittyhawkcorp) September 21, 2022
Founded in 2010 as Zee.Aero, the company unveiled a demonstration video of its flying car in 2017. Then in 2018, it finally unveiled a single-seat prototype called the Flyer that could hold one person and fly up to 20 miles.
Back then, Kittyhawk said back then that the commercial version of the Flyer would be available to consumers within five years. Unfortunately, that day never came, as the company announced yesterday it would shutter operations. The elusive flying car never got off the ground.
In 2020, Kittyhawk pivoted away from its Flyer program and shifted its focus to its electric aircraft called Heaviside, according to multiple reports. A year earlier, Kittyhawk also formed its Wisk venture with Boeing. The airplane giant invested $US450 million in the partnership. Just this week, Boeing and Wisk presented their vision for a world where eVTOLs can co-exist with larger commercial aircraft.
“Kitty Hawk’s decision to cease operations does not change Boeing’s commitment to Wisk. We are proud to be a founding member of Wisk Aero and are excited to see the work they are doing to drive innovation and sustainability through the future of electric air travel. We do not expect Kitty Hawk’s announcement to affect Wisk’s operations or other activities in any way.”