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.

There’s no guarantee that Kitty Hawk’s or Zee.Aero’s or anyone else’s flying cars will ever take to the skies. There are still technology problems to solve, regulatory hurdles to cross, and urgent safety questions to answer. Page once vowed to a colleague that if his involvement in the sector ever became public, he might pull support from the companies.

Here’s hoping that’s not true. If nothing else, these projects show that bold, some might say far-fetched, invention is alive and well in Silicon Valley. The place that spent the past decade focused on social network apps has trained its engineering powers on robots, cars, and now aviation. “We were promised flying cars, and instead what we got was 140 characters,” a local venture capitalist once put it. Page and his cohorts are trying to get us both.

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