Self-driving flying cars? Google could be linked to stealth venture

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In late August a patent was published that covered a “personal aircraft.” This would be unremarkable except for one thing: one of the drawings showed the aircraft parked in what could be a grocery store parking lot, in a space between two cars.

The patent — which we are first to report — among others, is assigned to Zee.Aero, a stealth company in Mountain View, and the drawings show this is no ordinary personal craft. This is a flying car.

There have been stabs at a Jetson-mobile before, but two designs in the Zee.Aero patent put this one on the outer cutting edge: It would be battery powered. But in addition, it is designed to lift straight up like a helicopter — so no need for a runway. Then, as the patent notes, the collection of rotors on top work with two facing backward to allow it to hover for a bit before cruising off to that grocery store.

We are also hearing from sources that Google is involved, but in what capacity is unclear. However, Zee.Aero’s offices are near Shoreline Lake in Mountain View, according to the job postings. The company operates a barebones website — just three brief pages and there’s no address, phone number, e-mail or contact form. I reached out to both Google and Zee.

But as you may have guessed, near Shoreline Lake is also where you’ll find the sprawling Googleplex — and not far from there, Google X, the super-secret facility that gave rise to self driving cars, Internet balloons and Google Glass. Sebastian Thrun, who helped start Google X and led the driverless car effort, has said he sees the majority of people using flying cars by 2040 — though those sorts of starry predictions are a dime a dozen.

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“Self-driving flying cars? Google could be linked to stealth venture”