You probably haven’t heard of Zee.Aero. The small company quietly set up residence close to Google headquarters in Mountain View and has done its best to avoid the eyes of the public. In fact, employees of the company are issued handy wallet-sized instructional cards that give them tips on how to evade questions from the news and public. That’s because Zee.Aero is in the business of designing flying cars, a nerdist dream from the wayback, and they don’t need the added attention and critique of the world media at large. However, according to Bloomberg, these upstart innovators have a particularly golden ace up their sleeve: Google’s Larry Page is allegedly bankrolling the entire project.
If Bloomberg’s information is correct, then Larry Page has been funding the flying car initiative since 2010, but he’s insisted that his involvement stay a matter of absolute secrecy. Internally, he’s referred to as GUS, which is an acronym for the Guy UpStairs. Since the beginning of his involvement, Page has allegedly invested over $100 million on Zee.Aero. Indeed, his involvement may be even more extensive, as the Bloomberg reports that Page funded a second flying car startup last year located less than a mile from Zee.Aero: Kitty Hawk. Kitty Hawk currently employs about a dozen engineers, while Zee.Aero is a company with over 150 employees.
This is allegedly a strategic move on the part of Page. Workers for the companies speculate that the Google magnate is conjuring productive competition by pitting a small, agile team against a larger one with more resources. As Bloomberg reports it:
Page has drawn a line separating his two flying-car teams, employees say. It’s common for the Zee.Aero engineers to speculate over lunch about what their Kitty Hawk counterparts are up to. The former Zee.Aero employees think Page wanted to see if a smaller team could move faster, and the added pressure on Zee.Aero didn’t hurt. Two people say Kitty Hawk is working on something that resembles a giant version of a quadcopter drone.
If this report is true, then it might have widespread implications for the future of autonomous vehicles. It’s of the opinion of some that flying self-driving cars wouldn’t require anywhere near as much calculative rigor as ground-based autonomous vehicles would. While we wait around for our own personal flying vehicles, let us know what you think of these projects and Larry Page’s involvement in the comments below!