A Zee.Aero patent application included a sketch of a 'personal aircraft' that would be capable of vertical and horizontal flight.
The Wall Street Journal
By Jack Nicas
June 9, 2016 3:39 p.m. ET
Google co-founder Larry Page is privately funding two flying-car companies, according to two people familiar with the firms, the latest example of the tech executive’s ambitious efforts outside of internet search.
Mr. Page owns Zee.Aero Inc., some of whose roughly 150 employees test prototype aircraft in rural California, and a smaller startup dubbed Kitty Hawk that is developing its own design for a flying car, one person said. Both companies are based near the headquarters of Google parent Alphabet Inc. in Mountain View, Calif.
Bloomberg previously reported Mr. Page’s investments in the companies and their progress so far.
The firms are two of about a dozen companies working on so-called flying cars, which are effectively small automated aircraft that can take off and land vertically. The aircraft are generally being designed to someday carry people short distances as part of an on-demand transportation service, similar to the ride-sharing business model of Uber Technologies Inc., one person said. Advances in computing and battery technology are making such devices increasingly feasible, yet they still face major technical, regulatory and commercial hurdles before they begin carrying passengers.
The aircraft companies are personal ventures of Mr. Page and aren’t affiliated with Alphabet, another person said. Bloomberg reported he has invested more than $100 million in Zee.Aero alone. His push into personal aircraft signals his wide ambitions to affect industries outside of the internet, similar to Alphabet projects involving self-driving cars, delivery drones and life-extension technology.
Zee.Aero patents from 2013 show several models for “personal aircraft” that generally include thin fuselages sandwiched between wings on the front and back and topped with eight rotors.
Original article can be found here: http://www.wsj.com