German company Lilium is looking to break into the flying taxi sector, and on 16 May it presented an electric prototype fitted with five seats and capable of flying at a top speed of 300 km/h for 300 kilometres. Competition will be strong in that particular market however, most notably with the likes of Airbus and Uber.
Recently-formed German company Lilium is looking to follow in the footsteps of Airbus, Boeing and Uber, and on Thursday 16 May unveiled a prototype of flying taxi, at a time when models and projects are appearing all around the world based on this type of technology that is set to revolutionise urban transport.
The five-seater craft is fitted with 36 electric motors which work along the lines of jets, and is one of a growing number of eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicles. It has a range of 300 kilometres and can fly at a top speed of 300 km/h.
Competition in the sector
The Lilium craft was tested for the first time in early May, with the German firm promising an on-demand transport service "by 2025" in a number of cities "at the same price as a taxi but four times quicker". While the main aim is to offer autonomous flights, there will still be pilots in charge of these futuristic vehicles in the initial stages. The German company, which has managed to raise almost 100 million euros since it was formed in 2015, is merely one among dozens of similar outfits looking to develop flying taxis.
A prototype by Boeing had a successful first test flight at the end of January, while over in Europe, the "CityAirbus" was unveiled in March. Uber meanwhile is looking to implement its first flying taxis in Los Angeles and Dallas, two major US cities that are particularly affected by traffic. The ride-share giant said in 2017 that it was hoping to have demonstration flights by 2020 and commercial flights accessible via its application by 2023. Use of aircraft of this kind is currently blocked by stringent regulations however, as well as safety issues and the reticence of the general public.
Cover photo credits: Lilium/Youtube screenshot
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