A startup company from Germany has revealed an all-electric self-flying 5 seater prototype of an air taxi. The German-based company, Lilium on Thursday announced that this taxi had made its first test flight successfully earlier this month. The aircraft took off, ran around and landed. The self-flying air taxi is said to be capable of covering a distance of 300 km in about an hour and is powered by 36 electric jet engines. It is one of its kind as this is the first one to have five seats while all the other companies have made flights which can accommodate not more than 2 people.
The Munich-based company started its ambitious project with a two-seater prototype and in a matter of a couple of years, it was able to design and build an aircraft that can be used for production en mass. Daniel Wiegand who is the CEO and co-founder of Lilium in a statement, said:
Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travelers.
The five-seater aircraft does not have a gearbox, propeller, tail, rudder and has absolutely no impact on the environment as it does not produce any emissions and is thus being termed as ‘zero operating emissions.’ The self-flying aircraft is operated from the ground by an operator remotely and the prototype is undergoing many tests. The company plans to produce and market it as an air-tax on-demand service and the customers will have to use an app to book the flight by finding the nearest launch pad.
The way people travel around the cities is changing radically, with many firms launching two-seater self-driving flights. In 2018, the Dubai Road and Transport Authority also said that it would test its first self-driving taxi. Many ride-hailing companies like Uber have grand plans for launching a shared air transportation service in urban areas by 2023 and is working with its partners to launch small electric aircraft. The vehicles are designed to cut pollution and also help improve urban transportation by providing more air options.
The Lilium’s self-driving 5 seater prototype in a single charge can fly for an hour and currently takes off and lands vertically. The next step after conducting a series of tests is to make the flight horizontal from the current vertical position, and the company plans to start producing the flights by 2020.