Larry Page wants to build the car of the future...that flies

Google co-founder Larry Page is the man behind Zee.Aero, the ambitious startup that has made it a mission to develop a vehicle that can take off and land vertically, otherwise known in tech circles as a flying car. Yes, a flying car.

The company got off the ground (no pun intended) back in 2010. Very little information has been revealed about the company’s unicorn project or the man who was providing funding. But a recent report from Bloomberg revealed that not only is Page the man behind the company, he’s also reportedly invested more than $100 million of his own money in the company.

Today, Zee.Aero employs somewhere close to 150 people, and has expanded its operations outside of Mountain View, California where its headquarters is located, right next to Google’s own HQ. It already has operations in an airport hangar in Hollister, California, as well as a manufacturing facility on NASA’s Ames Research Center campus right at the outskirts of Silicon Valley.

If Zee.Aero is still an unfamiliar company, it’s because Page was adamant in keeping it that way. According to the same Bloomberg report, he made it clear to all employees that his involvement in the company should be kept a tightly-guarded secret. But as the technological advances in the auto industry continue to grow at rapid rates – autonomous navigation systems being one of them – Zee.Aero’s “secret project” eventually came out.

Larry Page’s supposedly super-secret startup is not a secret anymore. The co-founder of one of the biggest tech companies in the world wants to build a flying car, and for the most part, he has done everything, including spending nine figures, to accomplish his dream.

That’s not to say that he’s closer than he’s ever been to a breakthrough, but to his credit, he’s put together a company that believes that it has the resources and the technological know-how to finally make the flying car a reality.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

To be fair, I admire Larry Page in the same vein as I admire guys like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. These people have proven to be visionaries in their own way and they’ve made successful careers in the technology-driven world we live in today.

Give Page credit for being serious about flying cars. Not only is he funding Zee.Aero, he’s also backing another flying-car startup called Kitty Hawk that’s working on a competing design and is helmed by none other than Sebastian Thrun, one of the driving forces behind Google’s autonomous-driving program and the founder of its research division Google X. Clearly, the people behind these two startups are what you’d consider heavyweights in the tech industry. If there are people that can pull it off, it’s hard not to back Page and his people at Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk from accomplishing this.

But let’s be real here for a second because I think a little levity is needed when discussing the possibility of flying cars. I’m not trying to throw shade here, but the concept of flying cars has been pored over and discussed for decades, not years. Decades. A lot of startup tech firms like Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk have tried to do the same in the past with nothing to show for it. Even some of the world’s biggest aerospace manufacturers are working on their own prototypes and yet, nobody seems to be close to making an actual and legitimate breakthrough.

That said, I am hopeful because I trust the people driving these startups. Whether its Larry Page or Sebastian Thrunn, or some other genius working behind-the-scenes, the important thing here is that a lot of smart people are spending their lives trying to build flying cars. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, or if it’s headed there at all, but with the advancements in technology today, I’m probably as intrigued as I’ve ever been that we can finally live a Jetsons-like lifestyle in our own lifetime.

Source: Bloomberg

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