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The new aircraft has been in development for nearly two years, according to TechCrunch, which first reported on the prototype. Based on the altitude and flight characteristics demonstrated in a short video, Kitty Hawk appears to be relatively far along with the aircraft, compared with other electric vertical-lift aircraft (aka flying car ) efforts, many of which have showed concepts and prototypes but haven’t flown much. A company spokesperson says all of Heaviside’s flights so far have been remotely controlled.This is the third aircraft Kitty Hawk has shown publicly. The single-seat Flyer , which can hover between 3 and 10 feet above the ground, is meant for recreational use. The larger Cora, which Kitty Hawk is testing in New Zealand, uses 10 rotors and is targeted toward the kind of air taxi market championed by Uber. Kitty Hawk has said little about its goals for Heaviside, but it appears closer to a final candidate for urban mobility, with a refined shape and what appears to be a more developed noise-control strategy.
Kitty Hawk is funded by Page and led by Sebastian Thrun , who at Google launched Google X and the self-driving effort that’s now Waymo . Thrun has placed considerable emphasis on that acoustic signature, which promises to be one of the greatest challenges in terms of public acceptance of urban air mobility.