Kitty Hawk’s Flyer, as the project came to be called, was intended to be small enough to avoid safety certification altogether, weighing in under 254 pounds so it could qualify under Federal Aviation Administration rules as an ultralight, a category of aircraft that’s long been the province of hobbyists and tinkerers. He is also the founder, chairman, and president of Udacity, whose mission is to democratize education. Sebastian is the CEO of Kitty Hawk, whose vision is to free people from traffic. Eventually Kitty Hawk, which went on to absorb Zee.Aero, embarked on a mission to be the first to get an electric passenger aircraft to market that could take off and land vertically. At Google, he founded Google X and Google's self-driving car team. Oct.15 -- Sebastian Thrun, Kitty Hawk chief executive officer and former head of Google's autonomous driving program, discusses his big bet on artificial … Flyer president Alex Roetter and Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun said the organization will now turn its efforts on a previously secret all-electric aircraft, the Heaviside. At the same time, the company may have given up control of Cora, sources suggest. Since 2010, Kitty Hawk has been making strong advances in eVTOL technology. In May, Kitty Hawk general counsel Molly Abraham made a filing in Delaware to incorporate a company under the name of Cora Aero at the same address as Kitty Hawk; a November filing lists Cora Aero’s CEO as Gary Gysin, who until February was head of Liquid Robotics, a developer of wave-powered autonomous watercraft that was acquired by Boeing in 2016. Sebastian was the founder of X (previously Google X), where he led the development of the self-driving car, Google Glass, and other projects. Over the last six months, the Flyer program has gone through a reset, former employees said. Sebastian Thrun is CEO of Kitty Hawk, founder and Chairman of Udacity and Cresta, a former Google Fellow and VP, and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University. She was CMO of Udacity where she was instrumental in increasing revenue and establishing a global brand. You can learn more about our use of cookies and data collection, including opt-out information, by reading our privacy policy, found here. Since she first took to the skies in 2017, she’s logged more than 1,000 test flights. And riders will no longer have the freedom to take Flyer for a joyride, they say: The flight path will be automated. Kitty Hawk did not respond to questions about Flyer’s reliability. With flight time maxing out at 20 minutes due to battery limitations, Kitty Hawk initially intended ... [+] Flyer for quick thrills, but the company has pivoted to an idea to trial using it in a transportation service. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Molly was a product development engineer at Procter & Gamble and is a patented inventor for her work on P&G’s Pampers product. The modern-day Kitty Hawk was run by Thrun, who previously directed Google’s moonshot R&D program and founded online education company Udacity. “That’s just how it had to be if you wanted to keep getting a paycheck.”. We use cookies and Google Analytics to better understand how you use our website and mobile applications (our "Services"), to improve your user experience, and to better tailor our advertising. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation BrandVoice, putting up Web pages to take applications, exploring a route across San Francisco Bay. Several said they believe Boeing is now in control of Cora. “Kitty Hawk doesn’t start from the principle of what’s the economically viable thing we’re going to build. 4 minute read Inspired Execution: CEO of Kitty Hawk and Founder & Executive Chairman of Udacity Sebastian Thrun discusses the transformative role AI and machine learning will play in the future of education, what it’s like to be at the helm of two companies at once, and learning from failure. Beyond Udacity, Thrun is pushing new boundaries, working with Larry Page to launch a flying car last month with start-up Kitty Hawk, and using technology to … To save on weight, two former employees said that engineers dispensed with the protective shielding commonly used between lithium-ion battery cells in cars, bundling cells together with tape, increasing the risk that if one ignited, others would catch on fire, too. The YouTube personality Casey Neistat gave it a try, publishing a video that was watched 2.2 million times in which he shouts happily while banking and spinning Flyer around the lake. “It would be transformational to almost every person I know.”, Two years later, however, Kitty Hawk’s promise to bring personal flying to the masses has failed to take wing yet amid technical problems and safety issues with Flyer and unresolved questions about its practical use, according to four former Kitty Hawk employees who were among six who spoke to Forbes on the condition of anonymity due to nondisclosure agreements. Prior to joining Kitty Hawk, Damon was the lead engineer at Makani, a company that developed the first wind-power generating tethered kite to harness wind resources for supplying the world with clean energy. Prior to Kitty Hawk, Molly was at Wachtell Lipton in New York, where she practiced corporate litigation and handled internal investigations for a variety of Fortune 50 clients, including J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and the NBA. Sebastian Thrun is a scientist, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur. Michael served in executive positions at Affiliated Computer Services, Inc., the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of San Francisco and the New York City Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce. Kitty Hawk is a startup taking aim at creating real, usable flying cars. Sebastian Thrun, who used to work at Google before leaving to set up his flying-vehicle firm, Kitty Hawk, was speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in … Kitty Hawk had just shown off a prototype of the Flyer, a single-seat, battery-powered aircraft intended to be a low-altitude fun machine for use over water, like a jet ski on rotors, with handling that would make flying as easy as driving. Flyer for quick thrills, but the company has pivoted to an idea to trial using it in a transportation service. He spent several years as a professor at Stanford University where he led the Stanford Racing Team, whose “Stanley” won the DARPA Grand Challenge. Kitty Hawk has reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard to ask how it would classify Flyer, a Coast Guard spokesman said. The company believes that when everyone has access to personal flight, a new, limitless world of opportunity will open up to them. Its mission is to make the dream of personal flight a reality. Sebastian Thrun speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt with a canine guest in 2017 in San Francisco. Sebastian Thrun is a scientist, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur. Sebastian Thrun (President and CEO) Website: Kitty Hawk Corporation is an American aircraft manufacturer producing electric personal air vehicles History. The startup promised to put the Flyer in eager buyers’ hands by the end of the year. That would leave Kitty Hawk with two other aircraft: Flyer and Heaviside, an autonomous winged one-seater unveiled in October that, in an attempt to solve the noise problem that has made heliports unwelcome neighbors, was designed to be 100 times quieter than helicopters, as well as faster. Shernaz brings a track record of building brands and taking businesses to the next level to her work at Kitty Hawk. I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. The company’s other major program, Cora, also faces daunting regulatory hurdles. Sebastian Thrun isn’t your ordinary Silicon Valley computer geek-cum-Stanford professor. Those individuals declined to comment when reached by Forbes. At Kitty Hawk, Damon is general manager of Heaviside, where he leads a team in developing and building the first quiet eVTOL vehicle of its kind. Michael received an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside and a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Sebastian Thrun (born May 14, 1967) is an entrepreneur, educator, and computer scientist from Germany. “It is going to be a ride-sharing model for transportation services.”. He is also the founder, chairman, and president of Udacity, whose mission is to democratize education. Though Flyer was capped to 10 feet in altitude and 20 mph in speed, and Kitty Hawk said it was intended to be flown over water, for safety, the company was presenting it as a thrill ride, putting up Web pages to take applications for the first production models from individuals and potential fleet operators like amusement parks or resorts. Boeing might be the one to see it through. Sebastian Thrun Defends Flying Cars to Me The CEO of Kitty Hawk, the Larry Page-funded personal airborne vehicle company, explains why this isn’t the stupidest idea ever. Former Kitty Hawk employees said that around the time the Boeing partnership was announced, access to the Cora building, which had contained a cafeteria and reception area shared by all, was abruptly restricted to workers only on that program, and IT, HR and other back-office workers were divided between Cora and Kitty Hawk. Today, in California, we are building on their legacy to create the next generation of vehicles for everyday flight. Those final, long and painstaking steps promise to be a tall hurdle for many of the urban air mobility startups as they try to transition from Skunk Works-type inventors to real businesses, said Lawson—and it could account for the bulk of the spending. At roughly 65 million miles in length, terrestrial roadways increasingly carry … We are proud to partner with public and private organizations who share our vision for a traffic-free future. Sebastian is the CEO of Kitty Hawk, whose vision is to free people from traffic. Thrun worked at and led Google’s self-driving car project before turning entrepreneur. Sebastian Thrun, robotics expert and CEO at Kitty Hawk Tackling the skills shortage Thrun wants to solve one of the biggest problems related to AI — the skills shortage — by … The company has scouted out cities where it could offer point-to-point rides across bodies of water, which would make for a more forgiving surface to come down on in the event of a crash, two former employees said. Over her career she has worked with a range of companies across the globe including Netflix, Walmart, Motorola, Baidu, Khan Academy and Guardant Health. It’s unclear how Flyer would be regulated in such a use, with one gray area being whether it would be treated as a boat traveling above the water or a low-flying aircraft. “The technology is one thing, but 80% of the effort is in productizing and building an aircraft that can be certified,” said Lawson. (Update: On Monday, after publication of this story, Kitty Hawk and Boeing announced that Cora has been folded into a joint venture company named Wisk Aero. The latest idea: that Kitty Hawk would operate Flyer as a service. He is also the founder, chairman, and president of Udacity, whose mission is to democratize education. As a serial founder whose ventures include Google X, education trailblazer Udacity, and transportation company Kitty Hawk, he is an enormously big thinker whose natural curiosity leads him to … Molly brings years of experience to her role as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary and also leads the company's business operations. Intent on bringing Flyer to market quickly, management in several instances brushed off workers who expressed worries that problems with the aircraft could endanger passengers, two former employees said. With an engineering team smaller than 20, Flyer made rapid progress. Kitty Hawk, the eVTOL company founded by Sebastian Thrun and Google co-founder Larry Page, released an in-depth video describing the performance characteristics of its single-seat Heaviside aircraft. (Update: In Monday’s announcement, Boeing and Kitty Hawk confirmed Gysin is the CEO of the new joint venture company.). Michael redefined the FAA's regulatory relationship with the aviation industry leading to greater levels of safety and led the effort to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system to pave the way for the safe integration of commercial space operations and small unmanned aircraft systems. Sebastian is the CEO of Kitty Hawk, whose vision is to free people from traffic. Kitty Hawk has applied for a permit in Jersey City, New Jersey, to develop a floating dock and hangar for a potential route across the Hudson River to Manhattan, and is exploring a route across San Francisco Bay, according to local media. It has about 300 employees. Damon Vander Lind is a start-up founder, aircraft designer, and engineer with a passion for building highly efficient flying vehicles. She currently serves as executive advisor to GV; and senior advisor to Voyage and 10x Genomics. The jetmaker and Kitty Hawk declined to comment.