Kitty Hawk, the ambitious “flying car” startup funded by Google co-founder Larry Page, is winding down, which the company confirmed in a brief post on LinkedIn earlier today.
According to a report from Insider, sources inside the company said Kitty Hawk had already shut down work on the 100-mile-capable Heaviside vehicle. Insider also reports that Page had become increasingly hands-off from the company but said he was more closely involved with its shift to research and development after the end of the Heaviside project.
Although Kitty Hawk is shuttering development of its own aircraft, at least one project will live on in its joint venture company with Boeing: Wisk Aero. “Today’s news does not impact Wisk. We remain in a strong financial and strategic position, with both Boeing and Kitty Hawk as investors,” Wisk spokesperson Chris Brown tells The Verge. At the beginning of this year, Boeing sunk another $450 million into Wisk Aero during its last funding round.
Kitty Hawk revealed itself in 2017 when the company released a video of its “Flyer” personal transport vehicle, ahead of another autonomous aircraft it developed called Cora, which spun off to become Wisk Aero.
The Flyer was among the first vehicles to appear during an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) boom that eventually included others like Toyota-backed Joby Aviation, Volocopter, and Lilium, as well as projects from established names like Bell Helicopter and Uber. And in 2018, The Verge discovered that Larry Page owns another flying car company called Opener.
But when the startup couldn’t find a viable business path for the Flyer, it shifted focus to Heaviside — and now even that is toast.