• WATCH: First footage of Google founder's flying car, available to consumers this year

    By: Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    What if you could one day hop into a car, soar into the skies and avoid traffic altogether?

    A Silicon Valley tech startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page has debuted a version of its Kitty Hawk Flyer, a flying car that will be available to consumers as early as this year. 

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    The company, Kitty Hawk, describes its first product as an “all-electric aircraft” designed only to operate over water.

    Consumers don’t need a pilot’s license to drive the aircraft and, according to Kitty Hawk, will be able to learn to fly it in minutes. 

    The cars fall under a special Federal Aviation Administration category for ultralight aircraft intended for recreational flying in uncongested areas.

    The footage released Monday shows aerospace engineer Cameron Robertson flying the prototype version, which looks more like a jet-ski than a car, over a lake about 100 miles north of San Francisco.

    According to The New York Times, the one-person prototype is open-seated, weighs 220 pounds and is powered by eight battery-operated propellers.

    Though the Kitty Hawk Flyer is designed for open waters only, its creation is a step toward what the future holds for flying cars. 

    “We hope that this is more of an exciting concept than what most people have had in their minds about flying cars,” Robertson told The Times. “This is not yet that product in terms of what we will say and what it can do, but I think it demonstrates a vision of the future.”

    Watch the Kitty Hawk Flyer in action:

    Though Kitty Hawk hasn’t set a price for its consumer version, the company is offering a $100 3-year membership that includes priority placement on its waiting list, exclusive access to a flight simulator and a $2,000 discount off the prospective retail price, among other company perks.

    More about the Kitty Hawk Flyer at NYTimes.com.

     

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