Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Google-backed flying auto project closer to take-off

Google-backed flying auto project closer to take-off

The company said it's the first step in making flying "part of everyday life".

Kitty Hawk, the California-based flying auto company founded by Google Alphabet CEO Larry Page, on Wednesday unveiled the final version of its latest model Flyer.

Images and details were available at a freshly launched website at flyer.aero, and CNN posted coverage of a reporter taking to the air in a Flyer over a lake at a test site near Las Vegas.

According to CNN, Kitty Hawk tried out various methods for controlling the craft, including a steering wheel, video game controllers, and boat throttles but found that a joystick was the most comfortable to use.

The California-based company revealed the final version of the Kitty Hawk Flyer on Wednesday, saying it will begin offering test flights for interested buyers.

Test flights by first-timers were over water, with the top speed limited to 32 kilometers per hour (20 mph) and the altitude to no more than three meters.

For safety reasons, the Flyer is being tested exclusively over water at a facility in Las Vegas.

The Part 103 weight restriction effectively serves as a range limiter due to the weight of batteries, but eliminates the need to obtain aircraft certification or flight training. The single-seated electric Flyer, which is now available for pre-order, can fly up to 10 feet high in the air with a speed limit of up to 20 miles per hour and is operated with two control sticks. Thrun is hoping to get the flying vehicles to go 50, 60 or even 100 miles per hour. "You definitely feel the vibrations". The aim now is to get it in the hands of customers; people can express interest via the company's website. "Will people be willing to fly on these devices, be willing to live next to these devices like this?" Its sale price has not made been made public yet.

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