A Munich-based startup is developing a revolutionary flying taxi. It has 36 fully electric jet engines that allow it to take off and land vertically, but it lacks tail, rudder, propellers or a gearbox. With just one moving part in the engine, this plane intends to take us wherever we want. “Today we are taking another great step to make urban air mobility a reality. We have been able to successfully design, build and fly a plane that will serve as our template for mass production,” said Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and executive director of Lilium.
The relatively simple design, beyond the 36 electric jet engines needed for takeoff and vertical landing, makes it safer and more affordable than other aircraft. Once in the air, the power needed in cruising is little more than that of an electric car. The fixed-wing design that it has offers a broader scope than that of competitors with drones based planes, which consume much more energy to stay in the air.
The company is already seeking certification for its new plane through rigorous flight tests, although many people may have reservations about Lilium’s declared ambition, “a world where anyone can fly anywhere, whenever,” he said. Remo Geber, commercial director, said the plane makes less than 2% of the noise of a helicopter: “You can use this in the cities where people live, it’s totally electric. It’s very different.”
The firm aims to offer air taxis based on Uber-style applications in several cities by 2025. It seems that there is not much left so that our cities resemble those of science fiction films.