Air taxis are for real! Munich-based startup unveils the first-ever 5-seater prototype

Air taxis are for real! Munich-based startup unveils the first-ever 5-seater prototype

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Ever in human history, cities are witnessing a mass migration at present, since people are moving to urban spaces in search of jobs, exposure and of course a quality standard of living. As a result, we encounter congested road, unwanted pollution, where people end up wasting a huge chunk of their time commuting.

Airtaxi is real!

As the roads are getting jam-packed, we need to find better ways of moving around. For instance, imagine a taxi that picks you up into the sky, flying you through the air completely off from traffic and drops you at the destination. Sounds exciting, isn’t it? This might sound like science fiction except that it’s not! The air taxis are real and it’s coming to save us from gridlock and delays.

Meet Lilium Jet! First all-electric jet-powered five-seater air taxi

Lilium, the Munich-based startup developing a revolutionary on-demand air taxi service, revealed its new five-seater air taxi prototype for the first time.

The best part here is that the all-electric aircraft completed its maiden flight in the skies over Germany earlier this month. The Lilium Jet first took to the air at 08.03 local time on 4th May 2019, having completed extensive ground testing at Lilium’s HQ in Munich, Germany.

Celebrating the landmark, Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO, said: “Today we are taking another huge step towards making urban air mobility a reality. In less than two years we have been able to design, build and successfully fly an aircraft that will serve as our template for mass production.”

Attracted more than $100m in funding!

Co-founded in 2015 by four visionary founders, Daniel Wiegand (CEO), Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner and Patrick Nathen, the company has attracted more than $100m in funding from investors such as Atomico, Tencent, LGT, Freigeist and Obvious Ventures and now employs more than 300 people.

Minimal design with zero operating emissions!

The electrical craft is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that allow it to take-off and land vertically. The Lilium Jet features a minimal design with just one moving a part in the engine contributing to the safety and affordability of the aircraft.

As per the company claims, this design allowed the design team to focus their efforts on creating a magical customer experience in the cabin, from panoramic windows to gull-wing doors.

Wiegand added, “Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travellers.”

Capable of travelling up to 300km in just 60 minutes

With a top speed of 300 km/h and a range of 300km, the Lilium Jet is capable of completing much longer journeys than the majority of its competitors.

Compared to drone-based aircraft which consume more energy to keep aircraft in the air, the Lilium Jet rely on the lift generated by the fixed wing requiring less than ten per cent of its maximum 2000 horsepower during cruise flight.

Commenting on the successful first flight, Leandro Bigarella, Head of Flight Test, said: “The Lilium Jet performed exactly as expected and responded well to our inputs. Our flight test program will now continue with increasingly complex manoeuvres as we look towards our next big goal of achieving transition flight, which is when the aircraft moves seamlessly from vertical to horizontal flight.”

Comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster.

Lilium plans to manufacture and operate the Lilium Jet as part of a revolutionary on-demand air taxi service. At the push of a button, passengers will be able to use the Lilium app to locate their nearest landing pad and plan their journey.

Road Ahead!

Lilium expects to be fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025, although trial services will start earlier than this in several locations. The latest five-seater Lilium Jet builds on the successful flight testing of a two-seater prototype in 2017. Furthermore, the prototype will now enter a rigorous flight test campaign that will see it demonstrate its full range of capabilities.


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