Technology 3 min read

Lilium Plans Introduction of Flying Taxis by 2025

Image via Lilium

Image via Lilium

Almost from the moment cars and planes were invented, the dream of flying cars began. And it’s perhaps because of the rapid development of these two segments that the dream has taken so long to materialize.

For a long while, the boom in low-cost commercial flights and cars as two of the most widespread means of transportation rendered the concept of flying cars irrelevant.

But we’re at such a stage where technology allows for dreaming about taking a car for a spin in the air. But before getting to private flying cars, it’s likely that we’ll see the introduction of commercial air taxi services.

A few daring startups around the world won’t quit pursuing their goal of becoming the first to offer on-demand air taxi and flight-sharing services.

One of these startups is Lilium, which has been working on a flying car, or in a more technical term, VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) vehicle, and now we have the first look of its full-scale version.

Lilium’s Air Taxi: Urban Air Mobility as a Sleek Solution

Flyings cars, VTOLs, or passenger drones; the names vary but the concept is pretty much the same: aerial or urban air mobility solutions to car-congested and polluted cities.

This year’s VivaTech show in Paris seems to be all about mobility, with drones, exoskeleton suits, and air taxis. The Munich-based German firm Lilium Aviation was present when it unveiled its take on air taxis.

The company says it has reviewed over 20 aircraft concepts to come to its air taxi design.

Two years ago, Lilium conducted the first test flight of an all-electric two-seater VTOL prototype. Now, the full-scale version is a bit different.

Lilium Jet is an unpiloted all electric five-seater tilt aircraft powered by 36 jet engines. The aircraft has no tail, no propellers, and no rudder, and to take-off vertically, the electric engines tilt up, then, for forward flight, they take a horizontal position.

Capable of traveling to up to 300 km (185 miles) in just 60 minutes on a single charge, Lilium’s air taxi prototype, as the company claims, consumes as much energy as the average electric car over the same distance.

Well, at first glance, founded in 2015, Lilium seems to have succeeded where many others failed. This is a sleek design that stands out from other takes we’ve seen. But, in the video, we didn’t see the aircraft make a transition from vertical to forward flight, something the 2017 prototype has demonstrated.

“While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, the Lilium Jet performed exactly as expected and responded well to our inputs. Our flight test program will now continue with increasingly complex maneuvers as we look towards our next big goal of achieving transition flight, which is when the aircraft moves seamlessly from vertical to horizontal flight,” said Lilium in a statement.

So, Lilium might still need some time to work on its full-scale jet, and the company plans to launch its fully operational model by 2025.

On how it imagines its business, Lilium said it will run an air taxi service that will be accessible via an app through which customers find the nearest “landing pad” where they’d wait for the aircraft to arrive. From the cost side of things, Lilium assured its air taxi service will be as affordable as a conventional taxi service, albeit four times faster.

Read More: Flying Car Update: Uber Elevate Teams up with NASA

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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