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Larry Page’s electric air taxi startup is going downhill



CNN

Kittyhawk, the electric air taxi startup backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, announced Wednesday that it plans to “decelerate” operations.

“We have decided to cut down on Kittyhawk. We are still working on the details of what comes next,” the company wrote in a brief statement is shared on it LinkedIn and Twitter pages. Kittyhawk did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Kittyhawk has a noble mission to “build self-driving, affordable, ubiquitous and environmentally conscious air taxis,” according to its website. It was founded by Sebastian Thrun, a former Google executive who led the company’s self-driving car efforts.

The startup operated in secret until 2017, when it went public with its first plane – an ultralight electric plane dubbed the Leaflets Designed to fly over water. Page, one of the richest men in the world, is said to have invest 100 million dollars in flying car startups, including Kittyhawk.

The Flyer is finally decommissioned in 2020, after more than 25,000 successful test flights, according to the company, and it reported fired many of the people who were working on the Flyer at the time. The company has already launched other electric aircraft prototypes and announced a partnership with Boeing in 2019.

Closing Kittyhawk will not affect its joint venture with Boeing, which it dubbed Wisk. In one tweetWisk says it remains “in a solid financial position,” with both Boeing and Kittyhawk as investors.

Like the Kittyhawk, Wisk is developing an “all-electric self-flying flying taxi” that, according to its website, “flys like a helicopter and flies like an airplane.” “This aircraft will eliminate the need for a runway and allow you to land where you need to,” according to the company.

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