Flying hybrid vehicles are very popular right now, with established companies and numerous startups currently working on the vehicles. One firm that falls into the latter category is Kitty Hawk, a small Silicon Valley organization whose Kitty Hawk Flyer goes on sale before the end of the year.
Kitty Hawk and Zee Aero hit the headlines last year after it was revealed both startups were secretly funded by Google co-founder Larry Page. Today, Kitty Hawk’s president, Sebastian Thrun, tweeted a link to the company’s website that showed the prototype vehicle in action for the first time.
As you can see, the current version appears less flying car and more jet ski combined with a drone. Test flyer Cimeron Morrissey did write, however, that it feels like a flying motorcycle, and that the final commercial product will look different and be far quieter than the test model.
The vehicle is designed to be flown over fresh water and can’t be operated on land. It weighs about 100 kgs (about 220 pounds), is 100% electric, travels up to 25 miles per hour, and is powered by eight rotors. Best of all, you don’t need a pilot’s license to fly one, but it can only be flown in uncongested areas of the US.
“You mount the seat and lean forward, just like you would on a bike. The controls are built into a set of handlebars and work similar to buttons and joysticks on a video game controller. It takes off and lands vertically, like a helicopter,” Morrissey wrote in a Medium post.
While the Kitty Hawk is scheduled to arrive this year, it’s still not available to pre-order. But paying $100 lets you become a Flyer Discovery Member, which, among other things, gets you priority placement on the waiting list and a $2000 discount off the retail price.
We still don’t know how much the vehicle will cost; that won’t be disclosed until the end of the year. For more information, check out the company’s website.