Kittyhawk, the eVTOL air taxi company building a single-person, remotely-piloted electric aircraft in Palo Alto, CA, has just announced it is shutting down.

Founded by self-driving car pioneer Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, Kittyhawk had been advancing aviation for more than a decade and had built and flown more than 100 aircraft.

Wisk, the company’s joint venture with Boeing Co. formed in 2019, will continue to live on. Boeing has already invested $450 million in the partnership and earlier this week the two presented their vision for a world where eVTOLs can coexist with larger commercial aircraft.

“Kittyhawk’s decision to cease operations does not change Boeing’s commitment to Wisk,” a spokeswoman for the plane manufacturer said in an email. “We are proud to be a founding member of Wisk Aero and are excited to see the work they are doing to drive innovation and sustainability through the future of electric air travel.”

Insider has reported that Kitty Hawk had already shut down work on the 100-mile-capable Heaviside vehicle and that Page had become increasingly hands-off from the company, but did continue to focus on research and development efforts after the end of the Heaviside project. Other historic vehicles to be designed, built, and flown by Kittyhawk included the Flyer and Cora vehicles.


Why it’s important: The closure of Kittyhawk marks the end of an era for one of the early leaders in the aerial mobility industry. With its Flyer and Cora aircraft, the company helped pave the way for many of the other startups, including Joby Aviation, Archer Aviation, and Lilium. However, the continued development work that is being done via spinoff company Wisk in collaboration with Boeing maintains a promising outlook for the future of urban aviation.

Posted by Naish Gaubatz