Google’s Larry Page Wants Us to Have Flying Cars

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Flying cars are the stuff of science fiction. Whether it’s a rosy vision of the future like we saw in Back to the Future or the dystopian world of Blade Runner, flying cars have captured our imaginations. Larry Page hopes to make our flying car future a reality and he’s funding the companies that could make it happen.

Zee.Aero first appeared a few years ago not that far from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Patents filed showed that the company was working on a small electric plane that could take off and land vertically without a runway, essentially a flying car.

Although they were located close to Google, they said the two weren’t affiliated and that there was no technology company backing their efforts. A recent Bloomberg report says they’re backing comes from none other than Larry Page, Google’s co-founder.

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He has been funding the company since 2010, but wanted his involvement to stay hidden. The company that started with a handful of employees now has a staff of nearly 150. They also have an airport hangar about an hour from their offices and are conducting test flights. How much has this cost? Page has invested a cool $100 million to keep research at Zee.Aero moving forward.

He’s not relying on just one company to pull off flying cars. Page has also invested in a second start-up called Kitty Hawk. They’ve only been in operation for a year and are working on their own designs that would compete with Zee.Aero.

Kitty Hawk is led by a big name. Sebastian Thrun, who founded Google’s X Lab, is guiding the company. He also worked on Google’s self-driving car project in its infancy. Page seems to think there’s a good chance for flying cars to work, but he’s not yet convinced any one company has the right idea.

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There’s some serious money going into this research, but is it practical even if one of these companies pulls off the technology? It’s neat to think that we could hop into a flying car and avoid traffic jams on the way to work, but we are a very long way from becoming the Jetsons.

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Elon Musk, a guy known for his crazy ideas, thinks this one is too crazy. Not only would it be an eyesore having cars zipping through our skies, but the potential to have one break and drop on your head is a big drawback.

Page doesn’t seem to have the same worries. He’s throwing money at flying car development, although the same Bloomberg report that revealed his involvement says Page threatened to pull out if his participation became public. Whether Page is involved or not, our flying car dreams are still a far cry from reality.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin