Larry Page’s Flying-Car Company Kitty Hawk Is Shutting Down

  • Kitty Hawk, the flying-car company that Larry Page backed, is winding down.
  • The company announced the news to employees on Wednesday.
  • It recently wound down its Heaviside flying-car project and moved back to research and development.

Kitty Hawk, the flying-car company that Larry Page, a cofounder of Google, backed, is winding down.

Sebastian Thrun, the CEO of Kitty Hawk, informed employees on Wednesday the company was laying them off, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company also posted the news on its LinkedIn page.

Sources inside the company told Insider that Kitty Hawk had recently wound down work on its most recent flying-car project, Heaviside, and reverted to research-and-development mode with Page more closely involved with the work. However, it appears the company could not see a way forward. Laid-off staff have been given four months of severance, an employee said.

Thrun, a self-driving car pioneer and a Google veteran, founded Kitty Hawk in 2010, and Page financially propped it up.

Insiders said Page remained the sole bankroller of Kitty Hawk throughout his lifetime. He became increasingly hands-off over the years, although he would involve himself in newer projects as they sprung up, including an internal initiative to make flying cars run more quietly.

The company produced several prototype models of its flying cars, including Flyer, which the company shuttered in 2020. Heaviside, its most recent model, was designed to be quieter for flying in densely populated environments. The company also spun up Wisk, a joint venture between Kitty Hawk and Boeing, in 2019. Insider was unable to learn whether the Kitty Hawk shutdown will affect Wisk.

Since Kitty Hawk took flight, the electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing space has seen increased competition from companies such as Archer and Joby Aviation. Page also backs another flying-car company called Opener, although Kitty Hawk sources said the two companies barely interact.

A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Are you a Kitty Hawk employee with more to share? Got a tip? Contact reporter Hugh Langley at [email protected] or on the encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram at +1 (628) 228-1836. Check out Insider’s source guide for suggestions on how to share information securely.

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