Two Flying Car Companies For Google Cofounder Larry Page

Two eggs in two distinct, competing baskets

Zee.Aero Patent

Zee.Aero Patent

Imagine, a family vehicle that sounds like 16 lawnmowers.United States Patent And Trademark Office

Flying cars are a forever icon of the future. Personal aircraft, with the ease and convenience of home automobiles, and without any of the downsides of airplanes or helicopters, have so far proven if not impossible then impractical, despite decades of attempts. But Google cofounder Larry Page isn't about to let all that history get in his way. Instead, he's funding two different Flying Car startups.

The first, founded in 2010, is Zee.Aero. They're working on an all-electrical vertical takeoff and landing passenger vehicle, or a flying car. Some Zee.Aero employees also once wore chicken suits and competed in a Red Bull Flugtag, launching a glider that flew 258 feet and set a new record for the sport:

Page's other team is, in an act of supreme subtly, called Kitty Hawk, after the beach where the Wright Brothers made the first powered flight. From Bloomberg's massive report on the two companies:

Kitty Hawk has about a dozen engineers, including some Zee.Aero veterans. Others came from Aerovelo, a startup whose claim to fame was winning the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize in 2013, for building a human-powered helicopter that could stay aloft for more than a minute. Kitty Hawk employees include Emerick Oshiro, who did self-driving car work at Google, and David Estrada, who handled legal affairs for Google X. They all listed the company as their employer on LinkedIn until they were contacted by Bloomberg Businessweek, at which point they erased any mention of Kitty Hawk from their profiles.

From reports, the design appears to be drone-inspired. Perhaps similar to China's Ehang 184 passenger drone, though Page's ambition seems to dictate a more powerful vehicle.

We've covered attempts at flying cars in Popular Science for at least 92 years. Technology has changed greatly over the past century, and Page has the resources necessary to make some functional new vehicle. Still, I would take any pronouncements of miraculous aerial achievement with a Model-T sized grain of salt.