It is being reported that Google co-founder Larry Page has been secretly funding two startups for a number of years to try and progress the technology required for building flying cars.
There’s been a huge amount of talk and focus placed on self-driving autonomous and electric vehicles over the last year or so, with a number of big companies, including Google and Tesla Motors, involved in that space. However, it seems that Google’s Page has ambitions way above and beyond just vehicles that are capable of self navigation after choosing to privately fund two companies named Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk.
It’s easy to think of a flying car as essentially having the same type of functionality as an aircraft, but with the form of what we generally consider to be a road-driving vehicle. In this case, it’s generally more accurate to think of the vehicle as an electric personal vehicle, or a new type of transportation vessel that is capable of taking off vertically and transporting a single person to a destination through flight. Many of us would think that it’s the stuff of futuristic dreams, whereas Larry Page seems to believe in the technology enough to personally fund its development to the tune of more than $100 million.
The report suggests that Google’s co-founder, and current chairman of parent company Alphabet, has self-funded Zee.Aero since 2010, investing more than $100 million of his own fortune. His interest in competing company Kitty Hawk manifested last year, with both companies looking to achieve the same end goal through drastically different processes and design ideas. Out of the two, it would appear that Zee.Aero is the more mature of the companies after expanding the business into an aircraft hangar that houses more than 150 staff.
There isn’t a huge amount of information known about the product or the work that’s being undertaken at the moment, but the Zee.Aero developments are said to have been initially focused around a patented design offered by IIan Kroo, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford. The company appears to have since pivoted on that design onto working with two additional prototypes, which are described as being equipped with a narrow body, a bulbous cockpit, and room internally for one passenger.
Flying vehicles have long been the subject of technology enthusiast dreams and Hollywood movies so it’ll be extremely interesting and exciting to see if either of these two young companies can produce a fully-functional passenger drone with the help of Page’s investments.