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Design

Flying Cars Are Coming Sooner Than You Think

by Kate Ryan

April 25, 2017

Your Monday morning commute is about to look a lot more like the Jetsons’, thanks to flying-car start-up Kitty Hawk. With self-driving-car magnate Sebastian Thrun at the helm and financial backing from Alphabet CEO Larry Page, Kitty Hawk was finally able to get off the ground. (Get it?) Page said in a statement, “We’ve all had dreams of flying effortlessly. I’m excited that one day very soon I’ll be able to climb onto my Kitty Hawk Flyer for a quick and easy personal flight.”

A video released on Monday shows off a prototype of the electric, airborne vehicle, and blogger Cimeron Morrissey confirmed in a review that it really is as fun to drive as it looks. Part personal helicopter, part motorcycle, the Kitty Hawk looks almost nothing like your typical car, but Morrissey says the final product will likely look much different. Of the current prototype, she writes,

“The prototype looks and feels a lot like a flying motorcycle. 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. But unlike a helicopter, the Flyer is 100 percent electric and powered by eight rotors.”

via GIPHY

In a review for The New York Times, John Markoff described the Kitty Hawk as looking “like something Luke Skywalker would have built out of spare parts.” As of now, there are no laws regulating the use of flying cars, and according to the Kitty Hawk website, you won’t need a pilot’s license to operate one. And unlike the months we typically spend learning to drive regular cars, Kitty Hawk’s creators say it takes just a few hours to learn how to fly. Though there are limits to where you can take this flying vehicle as it’s designed to launch and land on water.

Legality and practicality aside, the start-up’s website recently launched, allowing interested buyers to pay a $100 deposit to get a $2,000 discount on a personal aircraft in addition to flight demonstrations—though the creators have yet to decide on a retail price. According to the website, Kitty Hawk Flyers will be available by the end of this year.

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Flying Cars Are Coming Sooner Than You Think