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A New Flying Car? (Updated)

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Photo: Greg Espiritu via SFChronicle

Photo: Greg Espiritu via SFChronicle

A blogger in the San Francisco Bay area who published patent drawings on Wednesday that show designs for a battery-powered "personal aircraft" with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, has now updated the story with a photo. The patents were filed by Zee.Aero, a somewhat mysterious company based in Mountain View. Caleb Garling, writing for the SFGate Tech Chronicles, found the patent drawings and published a link to them. Garling had postulated that the company might be financed by Google, but Ilan Kroo, a Stanford aeronautics professor who has been CEO of Zee.Aero since 2011, told AVweb in an email this week that's not the case. "I am working on some interesting transportation ideas at a start-up company in Mt. View (near Google and other tech companies, but not affiliated with them)," he wrote. 

Kroo added that "the company is in its early stages -- still in stealth mode -- and we have not been talking to people about our plans quite yet. I’ll look forward to talking with you when things are a bit further along." This week, the company also updated its bare-bones website to a more elegant format -- although still with minimal information. "We're creating an entirely new aircraft," the website now states. "In the heart of Silicon Valley, at the intersection of aerodynamics, autonomy, and electric propulsion  -- we’re changing personal aviation. With simulations and prototypes, CAD and carbon fiber, we’re designing, building, and testing better ways to get from A to B." The site also features job postings for engineers and composites manufacturing technicians. Garling said the photo published this week was taken from a helicopter above the former Navy airfield in Alameda, a little less than a year ago.

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