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Google's Flying Car Takes Flight

For many years, people all over the planet have been talking a lot about self-driving cars, but now the discussion is taking to the skies! At Husker Collision Center, we fix cars, but when flying vehicles start showing up in Lincoln, NE we will be poised and prepared to work on them as well.

Kitty Hawk, a startup backed by Google, showed the world their prototype for an "ultralight" aircraft that can actually take off and land vertically, but only if you're flying over open water.

In a demonstration video that emerged recently, the Kitty Hawk Flyer shows lifting off over a lake with the assistance of small propellers directly underneath it. This prototype looks more like a jet ski with wings than a flying car, but I can bet that most everyone who has seen it might want to just call it "Wow!"

Google's Flyer is not just a crazy idea and the company is reporting that they will be on sale by December 2017 according to their website. The price has yet to be announced, but I can guess that it's not going to be something that Mr. and Mrs. Normal will be able to afford anytime soon.

Kitty Hawk reports that their flying car has received full approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for the aircraft to be flown solely in "uncongested areas." Customers will not need a pilot's license to use it, which has some analysts scared, but Google assures that the operation of the vehicle will not be complex.

Almost a year ago, Google's Founder Larry Page reportedly invested more than $100 million in flying car startups.

Sebastian Thrun, The CEO of Kitty Hawk and a former Google manager who led the company's self-driving car efforts, described the mission of the new Flyer on Twitter as a major innovation that will be "changing the future of personal transportation."

Several other companies, including Aeromobil and Terrafugia, are currently developing flying vehicles that look more like small planes than actual cars. Many feature vertical takeoff and landing, or VTOL, eliminating the need for a runway, which means they don't require land or infrastructure.

The Kitty Hawk announcement is also beating Uber to the punch, which is allegedly working hard on a flying car that will impress the critics and consumers as well.  

Page has an intricate relationship with Uber, because Google is an investor in their ride-hailing startup, but Google's self-driving car department is currently suing Uber for supposedly stealing its intellectual property. What company will be the first to create a flying car that will be popular with consumers and safe to use? Stay tuned as this story develops.

Sources: Google, CNET and Road and Track

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