Why the flying car market is difficult to do, and Kittyhawk, a company funded by the founder of Google, has announced its closure

 Kittyhawk, an air taxi company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, announced on Wednesday that it was going out of business, a setback for the flying car dream.


  "We have made the decision to shut down Kittyhawk, and we are still working on the details of the next steps," the company tweeted.

Kittyhawk was founded in 2010 to tap the market for eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft) with the ultimate goal of "democratizing the skies". The company is run by Sebastian Thrun, a former Google veteran.


  Kittyhawk's goal is to create an air taxi that can be piloted remotely, is smaller and lighter than other eVTOLs, and can take off from almost anywhere. The company aims to cost less than $1 per mile.

The company is one of several startups working on an "air taxi" concept, but the field has proved more challenging than expected. Air taxis have been involved in multiple crashes during testing in recent months, raising concerns about their safety.


  technology will continue

The company's flying car technology is expected to continue in Wisk Aero. Wisk Aero was founded in 2019 as a joint venture between Boeing and Kittyhawk, with Boeing pledging to invest $450 million in Wisk and Larry Page also backing the venture.


  Boeing said Wednesday that Wisk's operations will not be affected by the closure of Kittyhawk.


  On Tuesday, Boeing and Wisk laid out their vision for how eVTOLs will be safely integrated into the airspace, coexisting with larger commercial aircraft.


  Meanwhile, Boeing is providing engineering resources for a larger electric four-seater plane that is eventually scheduled to be submitted to U.S. regulators for certification.


  There are still many competitors in the air taxi market, including Joby Aviation in the US, Archer Aviation in Germany, Lilium in Germany and Eve in Brazil, but overall, the outlook for these future vehicles is unclear. Aviation regulators have yet to certify a new generation of electric manned air vehicles.


  The closure of Kittyhawk, now one of the most well-known eVTOL pioneers, shows how difficult it is for flying car startups to break into the market.

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