For several years we’ve heard a lot about flying taxis. A device that we would order with our smartphone, just like an Uber, but would transport us from point A to point B in the air.
Numerous functioning prototypes have been presented in recent months. In the race for the flying car, a German start-up seems to have made real progress. Engineers from the German company Lilium Aviation, founded in 2015, completed the inaugural flight of Lilium Jet, the first electric flying car capable of taking off and landing, which is interestingly is not horizontally, but vertically, much like a helicopter.
The company was able to fly its electric vehicle for the first time in Germany in April 2017. Thanks to the vertical take-off and landing, the aircraft does not need a runway, which greatly increases its potential uses and capabilities.
How does it work?
This hybrid car and helicopter is equipped with 36 electric motors enabling the vehicle to fly up to 300 km/h. Once recharged, it is able to travel around 300 kilometers in a single trip.
The Lilium Jet is not equipped with a traditional propeller. To gain altitude, the machine relies on six tilting electric motors that very easilylow for horizontal and vertical movements.
The model in question can accommodate two passengers, yet the developers ensure that the Lilium Jet will soon be able to carry up to five people. The German team hopes that their invention will help solve the problem of transport; the electric car can be used as a taxi.
It’s joining the race for the first commercially viable individual aircraft and other electric flying cars. After Airbus, the Slovak AeroMobil, the American Uber, the Dutchman PAL-V and the Chinese EHang, we now see the German firm Lilium enter the battle with this electric prototype, the Lilium Jet.
The road is still a long one before we can board this flying taxi and ‘drive’ through the clouds. Lilium Aviation hopes to launch their first commercial flights around 2025. In the meantime, the company wants to develop an improved version of its flying car.
Kenza, Consultant, Leyton France
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