Date
21 July 2017
Terrafugia's experimental "flying car" model. Google's Larry Page is funding two companies which are also dedicated to developing competing flying vehicle models. Photo: Terrafugia
Terrafugia's experimental "flying car" model. Google's Larry Page is funding two companies which are also dedicated to developing competing flying vehicle models. Photo: Terrafugia

Google co-founder Page backing two start-ups making flying cars

First, there were self-driving cars; soon, although we don’t know how soon, there’ll be flying cars.

Science fiction is fast turning into reality as today’s companies spend their billions in further pushing the frontiers of technology.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Google co-founder Larry Page has been secretly funding two start-ups that are working on flying cars.

Zee.Aero, into which Page has poured more than US$100 million since it started in 2010, conducts test flights of its prototype at an airport hangar in Hollister, California.

The start-up has a manufacturing facility on NASA’s research center at the edge of Mountain View, where Google’s headquarters are located.

Since last year Page has also been funding another start-up, Kitty Hawk, which is working on a similar competing model.

Kitty Hawk  is working on “something that resembles a giant version of a quadcopter drone”, according to Bloomberg. 

The company employs about a dozen engineers and has its headquarters about half a mile away from Zee.Aero.

Zee.Aero employees refer to Page as the “guy upstairs” or “Gus”. It is said that he once threatened to pull out funding if his involvement in the projects ever became public.

According to Bloomberg, so far there’s no guarantee that the two companies’ “flying car” concepts will ever take to the skies.

“There are still technology problems to solve, regulatory hurdles to cross, and urgent safety questions to answer,” the report said.

It’s not clear when the two companies expect to unveil their protypes, but many other companies are racing to build their own flying cars.

One of them is Terrafugia, a privately held US company, which is working on a concept vehicle called TF-X. It is expected to be ready by 2018.

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RC/CG

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