Google-backed flying vehicle project closer to take-off

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The electric aircraft had 10 small lift rotors on its wings, making it capable of vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter.

Kitty Hawk has revealed its first production-bound personal aircraft, the Flyer.

The flying auto company, Kitty Hawk, has shown off its latest iteration of the Flyer, a single seater "flying car" that's controlled with a single joystick.

Kitty Hawk, the California-based flying auto company founded by Google Alphabet CEO Larry Page, on Wednesday unveiled the final version of its latest model Flyer.

The Flyer is now open for test flights for prospective customers, and the CNN reporter Rachel Crane was the first journalist allowed to pilot the vehicle.

Kitty Hawk-named after the North Carolina town where the Wright brothers made their famous flights-previously unveiled a prototype of the Flyer early past year. Landing skids enable takeoff from land but are presumably designed for floatation, as the Flyer is meant to be used above water.

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Flyer test drives were recently held at the company's testing facility at Lake Las Vegas in Nevada, the Straits Times reported. In the United States, the Flyer falls under the FAA's rules for ultralight aircraft, meaning no pilot's license is needed so long as it's flown over water or "uncongested areas".

But Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun says the auto will one day be able to go up to "50, 60 or even 100mph".

Test flights by first-timers were over water, with the top speed limited to 32kph and the altitude no more than 3m.

Kitty Hawk's other model, the Cora, is a two-seat vehicle designed as alternative transportation in cities.

According to CNN, Kitty Hawk tried out various methods for controlling the craft, including a steering wheel, video game controllers, and boat throttles but found that a joystick was the most comfortable to use.

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