Kittyhawk, the company named after the rolling green hills where the Wright brothers made their first controlled wing flight, struggled to take off. Now it looks like the folks behind the air taxi company are ready to throw in the towel, offering a little fanfare as they dip their little bird in the ground on silent wings.
On Wednesday, the company wrote about its LinkedIn page a very brief statement stating “We have made the decision to end Kittyhawk. We are still working on the details of the sequel. »
Kittyhawk became world famous for his noble idea of creating fast, compact and efficient flying cars that could potentially take off with little or no runway needed. The project was led by CEO Sebastian Thrun, a self-driving car pioneer, headlined by Google co-founder Larry Page, who provided consistent financial support throughout its 12-year existence.
The company did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment, but Business Intern reported based on unnamed insiders familiar with the matter that CEO Sebastian Thrun informed employees of their decision the same day he posted his message. Sources also said the company has already put the brakes on its latest flying car project called Heaviside, where Page was apparently putting some elbow grease on the advisory side.
The company had gone through several projects during its life. Kittyhawk revealed his Cora Unmanned Air Taxi in 2018, promising it could take off and land vertically while being able to cruise at 110 mph at around 3,000 feet. It would have worked well in testing, but the public never saw anything other than video testing. The following year, air taxi manufacturers announced a partnership with Boeing on a project called Wisk. Otherwise, the last the public heard from the air taxi company was the end of their lightweight electric flying car project dubbed “Prospectus” in 2020.
We still haven’t heard back from Kittyhawk on where their The project alongside Boeing could go ahead now that the company is being shut down. Boeing told Gizmodo in an email that “We don’t expect Kitty Hawk’s announcement to affect Wisk’s operations or others.activities in any way.
So who will take Kittyhawk’s place in the search for ultralight flying vehicles? Well, we’ve seen attempts by people like Uber, although we weren’t impressed with their large and bulky initial design. Joby Aviation has acquired Uber back in 2020and the company received the initial green light from the Federal Aviation Administration to take height.
United also recently put 15 million dollars in the space of flying taxis through the startup Eve Air Mobility. Other major airlines are investing a lot of money in the space, but so far we’ve yet to see a business model that does more than look cool for promotional videos. With the Kittyhawk air taxi pioneer out of the picture, we’ll just have to see if any of these short-range aerial vehicles really take off.