Lilium plans five-seater air taxi after successful unmanned flight

Candice Alexander
April 21, 2017

With the completion of the first test flight, Lilium has announced that the company wants to create a five-seat design, which could be employed for on-demand taxi service in the future.

The prototype is a two-seater and it managed to execute "a range of complex maneuvers, including its signature mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight". It said it planned production beginning in 2020. Governments are still grappling with regulations for drones and driverless cars.

"Seeing the Lilium Jet take to the sky and performing sophisticated maneuvers with apparent ease is testament to the skill and perseverance of our awesome team", Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand said in a statement.

Using jet-powered flight once the craft is airborne also has big benefits in terms of energy economy once you're cruising through the air; Lilium says that it can get a range of around 186 miles from its battery and a top speed of about 186 mph, too, which is much more than what you'd get out of a large rotor-only vehicle with similar battery capacity.

Lilium says this is five times faster than cars with a journey from New York's JFK to Manhattan taking 55 minutes by vehicle but just five in the Jet.

Lifting off from an airfield in Germany, Lilium Aviation's Jet Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL), zero-emission, electric Eagle prototype has completed its maiden flight.

Lilium, founded in 2014 by four graduates from the Technical University of Munich, is unusual on the German startup scene, which is dominated by e-commerce firms largely based in Berlin and self-financed engineering firms dotted around the country.

Terrafugia, based outside the USA city of Boston and founded a decade ago by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates, aims to build a mass-market flying auto, while U.S.

Google, Tesla and Uber have also reportedly shown interest in the new technology.

Other reports by VgToday

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