Silicon Valley tech tycoons are continually raising the bar and reshaping the world. From Elon Musk, who is trying to reinvent transportation to eliminate barriers of time and distance via Hyperloop, to Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner teaming up with Mark Zuckerberg for an initiative to explore the stars, the world as we know it is drastically changing right before our eyes. Up next to debut yet another innovative project is Haute 100 lister Larry Page.
According to Bloomberg, Page has been secretly funding a company called Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk, two California companies that are currently developing a flying car. Thus far we know, Zee.Aero has developed a pair of prototype aircraft which it tests regularly. It has a facility in close proximity to a runway in Hollister in southern California, where residents to have seen the vehicles/aircrafts hovering overhead. Kitty Hawk, which is roughly a half-mile away from Zee’s offices, is led by Sebastian Thrun, founder of Google’s X Lab.
Zee.Aero consists of roughly 150 employees. Page has spent more than $100 million on Zee.Aero, Bloomberg reported.
In 2013, Gizmag got a hold of Zee.Aero’s patent including illustrations. The site reported one version of the vehicle is narrow enough to fit into a standard shopping center parking space. The prototype feature wings mounted fore and aft, with the payload area mounted in between. This arrangement is called a canard wing, with the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer mounted on the front of the aircraft instead of on the tail. On the top of this compact wing arrangement are a number of electric engines turning fat, four-bladed propellers.
Page isn’t the first person trying to transform the world with flying cars. Last year we reported a Slovakian company called Aeromobil has crafted the Aeromobil 3.0. In seconds, the vehicle can convert to an airplane, giving you the freedom to move. According to the company, the AeroMobil 3.0 is predominantly built from advanced composite material. That includes its body shell, wings, and wheels. It also contains all the main features that are available in a small private plane and likely to be incorporated into the final product, such as avionics equipment, autopilot and an advanced parachute deployment system. It boast other conveniences like a variable angle of attack of the wings that reduce the take-off requirements from its previous prototype, as well as a durable suspension that enables it to take-off and land even at relatively rough terrain.