Google Co-Founder’s Air Taxi Startup Is Closing Operations

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Kittyhawk, the electric air taxi startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, announced Wednesday that it plans to “slow down” operations.

“We have made the decision to shut down Kittyhawk. We’re still working on the details of what’s next,” the company wrote in a brief statement shared on its LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

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Kittyhawk did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Kittyhawk had a mission to “build autonomous, affordable, ubiquitous and environmentally friendly air taxis,” according to its website.

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It was founded by Sebastian Thrun, a former Google executive who led the company’s self-driving car efforts.

The startup operated in secrecy until 2017, when it publicly unveiled its first aircraft — an ultralight electric plane dubbed the Flyer, designed to fly over water.

Page, one of the richest men in the world, reportedly invested $100 million in flying car startups, including Kittyhawk.

The Flyer was eventually retired in 2020 after more than 25,000 successful test flights, according to the company, and reportedly laid off many of those working on the Flyer at the time.

The company has launched other prototype electric aircraft and announced a partnership with Boeing in 2019.

Kittyhawk’s closure will not affect its joint venture with Boeing, which has been dubbed Wisk.

In a tweet, Wisk said it remains “in a strong financial position”, with Boeing and Kittyhawk as investors.

Like Kittyhawk, Wisk is developing an “all-electric, autonomous air taxi” that it says “rises like a helicopter and flies like an airplane,” according to its website.

This “aircraft will remove the need for a runway and allow you to land where you need to be,” according to the company.



Source: CNN Brasil

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