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Opinion
Parmy Olson

Larry Page's Flying Car Failure Is a Lesson For Us All

As the Google billionaire’s Kitty Hawk project winds down, it’s worth remembering that moonshots really are long shots.

The Wisk Autonomous electric aircraft which is a joint venture company between Boeing and Kitty Hawk is displayed during the Farnborough International Airshow 2022.

The Wisk Autonomous electric aircraft which is a joint venture company between Boeing and Kitty Hawk is displayed during the Farnborough International Airshow 2022.

Photographer: John Keeble/Getty Images Europe

For a project so ambitious, the announcement about the end of flying-car startup Kitty Hawk Corp. was surprisingly terse. A single post on the company’s LinkedIn page on Wednesday stated: “We have made the decision to wind down Kittyhawk. We’re still working on the details of what's next.”  

The news was greeted with surprise by rival companies. Founded in 2010, Kittyhawk figured out early that it needed to make an aircraft as nimble as a car, rather than bolt some wings on an automobile. It helped pioneer a new type of aircraft called eVTOL, or electric vertical takeoff and landing — essentially a cross between a drone and a light aircraft — and hopes ran high when the deep-pocketed Google co-founder Larry Page came on board