Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk air taxi startup is shutting down

The closure won’t affect Wisk Aero.

Kitty Hawk

After more than a decade of trying to make flying cars a reality, Kitty Hawk is shutting down. “We’re still working on the details of what’s next,” the Larry Page-backed startup posted to LinkedIn on Wednesday afternoon. Before today’s announcement, the last time we heard from Kitty Hawk was in the spring of 2021 when it came out the company had parted ways with engineer Damon Vander Lind following “months” of infighting with Page and CEO Sebastian Thrun. Almost exactly a year earlier, the company canceled its original Flyer project and laid off most of the 70-person team that had worked on the aircraft.

It’s unclear why Kitty Hawk decided to call it quits, but comments Thrun made after the company ended development on Flyer may provide a clue. “No matter how hard we looked, we could not find a path to a viable business,” the chief executive said at the time. After Vander Lind’s departure the following year, it appeared Kitty Hawk was ready to double down on its Heavyside vertical take-off and landing aircraft. It acquired 3D Robotics and brought on the company’s co-founder, former Wired editor Chris Anderson, as chief operating officer.

Despite the demise of Kitty Hawk, this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of Larry Page’s flying car ambitions. According to CNBC, Wednesday’s shutdown won’t affect Wisk Aero, the company that was borne out of a 2019 partnership between Kitty Hawk and Boeing.

“Kitty Hawk’s decision to cease operations does not change Boeing’s commitment to Wisk. We are proud to be a founding member of Wisk Aero and are excited to see the work they are doing to drive innovation and sustainability through the future of electric air travel,” Boeing told the outlet. “We do not expect Kitty Hawk’s announcement to affect Wisk’s operations or other activities in any way.”

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