Thursday, 16 May 2019

Self flying taxi for five unveiled

Photo Lilium
Lilium, a German start-up has unveiled what it claims is the World's first five-seater self-flying taxi, which had its first test flight earlier this month.

Nothing like the Lilium Jet has ever existed before and the firm says its iconic design and pioneering technology will bring the vision of fully-electric transition flight to reality. It is claimed to be the new mobility service for the modern, urbanised age.

The prototype is powered by 36 all-electric jet engines that allow the craft to take-off and land vertically while achieving remarkably efficient horizontal, or cruise, flight. The simplicity of the aircraft design, with no tail, no rudder, no propellers, no gearbox and only one moving part in the engine not only contributes to the safety and affordability of the aircraft, but it has also allowed the design team to focus their efforts on creating a magical customer experience in the cabin, from panoramic windows to gull-wing doors.

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. Moving from two to five seats was always our ambition as it enables us to open up the skies to many more travellers. Whether its friends or families flying together or business travellers ride-sharing into the city, having five seats delivers an economy of scale you just can’t achieve with two. The Lilium Jet itself is beautiful and we were thrilled to see it take to the skies for the first time. With the perfect balance of range and speed, our aircraft has the potential to positively impact the way people choose to live and travel, all over the world.”

Photo Lilium
The jet took its first test flight on 4th May, Leandro Bigarella, Head of Flight Test, said: “While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, 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.”

There are a number of other self-flying taxi type vehicles in development by various companies, including Rolls-Royce and Uber. 

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