A five-seater ‘air taxi’ has had a successful flight
- Lilium, a Munich-based startup, just tested its latest 'air-taxi' prototype
- The space-aged taxis could change the world of transport forever
- A five-seater prototype just had a successful maiden flight earlier this month
- The prototypes don't have pilots and using artificial intelligence to fly
With the motto 'Enabling a world where anyone can fly anywhere, anytime', the Lilium Jet looks incredibly exciting; like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel.
The company tested its first 'air-taxi' prototype last week, sending the jet-powered drone into the atmosphere and back again.
Lilium's jet took off at 08:03 A.M. local time in Munich on May 4th without the use of pilots. Instead, the plane was remote-controlled from the ground.
What does this mean for pilots going forward? Will they lose their jobs? How will this affect the production of aviator sunglasses? Only time will tell.
The five-seater flying robot (effectively) has the same top speed as a Maserati GrandTurismo (300 kilometres-per-hour) but is far cooler (because, you know, it flies). we'll
The company explains that thanks to the fixed wing design of the prototype, it's capable of much longer journeys than other air-taxis around. Also thanks to the clever fixed wing, the jet will apparently require less than 10 per cent of its 2,000 horsepower.
All that that power comes from the 36 all-electric jet engines, which allow the jet to take off and land vertically while remaining efficient.
"This efficiency, which is comparable to the energy usage of an electric car over the same distance, means the aircraft would not just be capable of connecting suburbs to city centres and airports to main train stations, but would also deliver affordable high-speed connections across entire regions," says Lilium.
Co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand went on to tell Techcrunch that he expects the jet to be "fully-operational in various cities around the world by 2025. However, trial services will start earlier in several yet-to-be-revealed locations." Here's to hoping one of those "various cities" is right here in Dubai.