For several years now, Google founder Larry Page has unveiled the mysterious “flying car” project, the Kitty Hawk, a fully electric floating vehicle designed specifically to fly over water. Recently, the company unveiled an updated version of its recreational aircraft, the Flyer, which has undergone a major improvement over the original concept.
The Flyer weighs 110 kilograms and is powered by a 10-battery propeller. It looks like a bob used for winter gliding, fitted with a bunch of drone rotors – so we can be sure it’s completely safe. It was not designed to fly between clouds, as its maximum travel altitude was 3 meters and its maximum speed was limited to 35 kilometers per hour using the flight control system. With the Flyer, you can land on the water at one point, but you got rid of the safety net that was still on the original prototype.
Flyer is not the only product of Kitty Hawk. The company is also working on a two-seater electric aircraft called the Cora, which has 13 rotors and can take off and land vertically, and its development is aimed at participating in the air taxi service of the future. The company recently agreed with the New Zealand government to test autonomous air taxis in the country to get an official license to operate. Currently, at least 19 other companies are developing air taxis. These include old aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus.
Flying cars still face significant obstacles. Some experts say that due to engineering and regulatory barriers, the age of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft has not yet arrived. Simply put, there are no electric-powered aircraft or even gas-electric hybrid aircraft that would be commercially available today. Flight requires an incredible amount of energy, and battery technologies currently do not offer enough buoyancy to achieve the required weight-to-power ratio. Most experts predict that it will take years, if not decades, for technology to become commonplace.