A flying taxi that you can order through an app?
Air taxi startup Lilium has staged a successful maiden flight of a five-seater prototype that it hopes to bring into service by 2025 to whisk passengers between cities without the hassle of an airport check-in.
Lilium hopes to offer "on-demand air taxi service" in "various cities around the world by 2025", with trials beginning sooner.
There are more than 100 different electric-aircraft programs in development worldwide, according to Roland Berger, with Lilium's biggest competitors including Joby Aviation and Kitty Hawk, whose models are electric rotor rather than jet powered, as well as planned offerings from Airbus SE, Boeing Co. and Bell Helicopter, partnered with Uber Technologies Inc.
Lilium's model can take off vertically like a helicopter, and it sports wings for horizontal flight, allowing a top speed of 300 kilometres per hour and a range of 300km (186mph and 186 miles). In crowded metropolitan areas, that could facilitate transportation four times faster than cars.
The Lilium Jet took flight for the first time on May 4, after completing extensive ground testing at Lilium's headquarters in Munich, Germany, the company said.
In Texas, the chief executive of LIFT Aircraft says his start-up's electric-powered vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, the Hexa, plans to begin offering 15-minute flights across a lake outside Austin this year for $249 a pop.
"While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, the jet performed exactly as expected and responded well", said Leandro Bigarella, Lilium's head of flight test in a statement.
German startup Lilium has developed this flying taxi. Commuters will be able to book rides from their nearest landing pad through a smartphone app.
The Lilium Jet takes us another huge step towards making urban air mobility a reality. It has raised around $100m from investors.
In March the US-based Aerospace Industries Association predicted flying vehicles will be "a part of everyday commutes" by 2050.