No, this isn’t a late April Fools’ Day prank.
A startup by the name of Kitty Hawk and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page has given us our first look at a flying car that’s in development and promised on the market by the end of 2017. Well, it’s not so much of a car but rather a form of personal transport that travels in the air.
Called the Flyer, the device is more of a hoverbike with a series of drone-style propellers that provide lift. Kitty Hawk has designed the Flyer so that it runs purely on electricity and features controls so easy to use that anyone could learn to fly it in minutes. It’s also designed for vertical take-off and landings and can reach a height of 15 feet.
Kitty Hawk explains that the Flyer is considered an Ultralight by the Federal Aviation Administration so you don’t need a pilot’s license to operate one. However, the company states that the Flyer is only to be used over water and in uncongested areas, so don’t imagine you’ll be using one to skip the traffic in your daily commute.
The production version is said to look more finished than the prototype demonstrated here, and given the limited use will likely prove useful only as a new toy for extreme sports enthusiasts rather than a serious mode of transport. A handful of other companies are developing similar flying devices so Kitty Hawk already has some competition.
Anyone interested can sign up for a three-year membership to the Flyer project for just $100. This will get you the latest updates as well as invites to future demonstrations. You also get priority placement on the Flyer customer wait list and a $2,000 discount off the final price which will be announced closer to the market launch.
If you can’t stand the wait, you could always go out and build one yourself. It appears even someone with no engineering qualifications or experience of flying can build a similar device, as YouTuber Colin Furze has hilariously shown.
As mentioned above, Kitty Hawk is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. He’s also backed a startup by the name of Zee.Aero which is working on a proper flying car capable of vertical take-off and landings as well as driving on public roads. A prototype for Zee.Aero’s car may have been spotted last year.