Flying auto: Google founder Larry Page-backed firm develops sci-fi vehicle

Flying car backed by Google co-founder Larry Page

Flying car backed by Google co-founder Larry Page

Kitty Hawk, a aerial vehicle startup that's funded by Google cofounder Larry Page, opened its Flyer "flying car" for select test flights for businesses and social media influencers on Wednesday.

Kitty Hawk's other model, the Cora, is a two-seat vehicle designed as alternative transportation in cities.

Test drives are underway for the Kitty Hawk Flyer, which is being called a "flying auto".

Kitty Hawk chief executive Sebastian Thrun, who founded the Google X lab devoted to "moonshots" such as self-driving cars and internet-synched eyewear, was quoted by CNN as saying piloting Flyer was as easy playing the video game "Minecraft".

Kitty Hawk says it is now accepting orders for the Flyer, with the first people to be accepted as customers to be called Founder Flyers.

The start-up teased the Flyer in a demo video previous year, and is now nearing public roll out.

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A flying vehicle project has unveiled a model that can be taken for test flights by potential buyers. Its sale price has not made been made public yet.

The electric aircraft had 10 small lift rotors on its wings, making it capable of vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter.

At 15m away, Kitty Hawk said it sounded about as loud as a lawnmower, while from 75m away, the volume was like a loud conversation.

Test flights by first timers take place over water, with top speeds limited at 20mph and the altitude restricted to no more than 3m (10ft). The Flyer is essentially a drone big enough to carry a person, and according to its designers the controls can be mastered in as little as an hour.

"Flyer is created to be easy to fly for recreational purposes over water and uncongested areas", said the website. On its website, Kitty Hawk says the plan is to offer the aircraft as "part of a service similar to an airline or a rideshare".

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