After more than a decade of trying to make flying cars a reality, Kitty Hawk is shutting down. “We’re still working out the details of what’s next,” the Larry Page-backed startup posted on LinkedIn. . Prior to today’s announcement, the last time we heard from Kitty Hawk was in the spring of 2021 when it came to light that the company had an engineer relationship with Damon Vander Lind following “months” of infighting with Page and CEO Sebastian Thrun. . Almost exactly a year earlier, the company laid off most of the 70-person team that had worked on the plane.
It’s unclear why Kitty Hawk decided to drop it, but comments Thrun made after the company finished development on Flyer may provide a clue. “No matter how hard we searched, we couldn’t find a path to a viable business,” the CEO said at the time. After Vander Lind’s departure the following year, it seemed that Kitty Hawk was ready to double down on her . He acquired 3D Robotics and brought on the company’s co-founder, former cabling editor Chris Anderson, as director of operations.
Despite the demise of Kitty Hawk, this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of Larry Page’s flying car ambitions. According to Wednesday’s closure will not affect Wisk Aero, the company that was born out of a 2019 partnership between Kitty Hawk and Boeing.
“Kitty Hawk’s decision to cease operations does not change Boeing’s commitment to Wisk. We are proud to be a founding member of Wisk Aero and excited to see the work they are doing to drive innovation and sustainability through the future of electric air travel,” Boeing said. “We do not expect the Kitty Hawk announcement to affect Wisk’s operations or other activities in any way.”
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