Technology

Start-up backed by Google co-founder Larry Page unveils sleek new ‘flying car'

According to Kitty Hawk, you can fly the aircraft with just two hours' worth of training.

Flying cars have firmly been restricted to the realms of science fiction, but a start-up backed by Google co-founder Larry Page is close to making it a reality.

Last week, aircraft company Kitty Hawk unveiled a sleek version of its electric prototype vehicle called the Flyer.

When the aircraft was first revealed in 2017, it was an open-seated contraption powered by eight battery-powered propellers and weighed 200 pounds.

Wanna see Flyer in action 🚗 + ✈️? FOLLOW + TAG a friend to bring with you to our training facility! _____________________ Follow us and tag a friend in the comments below or on any of our #visitflyer posts to enter for a chance to win round-trip airfare and two night stay for you and a guest at our training facility, where you will meet the team and see Flyer in action! #visitflyer. _____________________ No purchase necessary to enter or win. Sweepstakes begins on June 6, 2018 and ends on August 31, 2018. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C. who are 18 years of age or older. By entering this sweepstakes, you agree to the official rules of the sweepstakes as published on www.flyer.aero/sweepstakes

A post shared by Flyer by Kitty Hawk (@flyer.aero) on

But after what looks like a design overhaul, the new vehicle looks sleeker – resembling more like a drone – and comes in slightly heavier at 250 pounds and features two additional propellers.

It has a maximum elevation of 10 feet and a top speed of 20 mph – both of which are limited by the flight control system for riders who are flying the aircraft for the first time.

According to Kitty Hawk, the Flyer – which seats one – is “designed to be easy to fly and flown for recreational purposes over water and uncongested areas”.

The company says the pilot just needs two hours’ worth of training to be able to operate the aircraft.

Following the unveiling of the prototype, Kitty Hawk invited American YouTuber Casey Neistat for a test flight.

Mr Neistat, who has over 9.6 million subscribers on his channel, described the Flyer as “amazing”, adding: “If this thing didn’t have these limiters on it, I would have taken it up to 500 feet”.

The 37-year-old spent around two hours training for the flight, which involved getting the hang of the controls using a simulator before jumping into the Flyer and learning how to release the seat belt.

The Flyer is currently classified as an ultralight aircraft in the US, which means no special licence is required to operate it.

The company hasn’t disclosed when the Flyer goes on sale, or how much it will cost, but those interested can join the “Founders Series” group and fill out an online form and put their names on a waiting list.

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