Germany's Lilium Calls Test of 'Flying Taxi' Prototype Successful

Germany's Lilium Calls Test of 'Flying Taxi' Prototype Successful

The first test flight of one of the first crops of flying cars to make it off the ground shows it taking off from the ground just like a helicopter and then zooming through the air like a plane.

"Seeing the Lilium Jet take to the sky and performing sophisticated maneuvers with apparent ease is testament to the skill and perseverance of our incredible team", Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand said in a statement. "We can now turn our focus to designing the five seater production aircraft".

Lilium says that once in flight, the efficiency of its prototype is comparable to an electric auto.

Lilium, founded in 2015, said it has completed a series of "rigorous flight tests" on its flying vehicle, "the first zero-emission electric plane capable of Vertical Take-Off and Landing [VTOL]".

Once airborne, the flaps gradually tilt into a horizontal position, providing forward thrust.

Atlantic storms presenting themselves early this year
Now, if you're scratching your head and saying, "Burt doesn't the hurricane season start in June!?" - you're right, it does. It wasn't surprising that it developed enough to become Sub-Tropical Depression 1 on Wednesday morning.

The Lilium Jet is, ironically, not actually a jet. The trick lies in its electric jet engines.

Lilium's 100-percent renewable electric power is its key defining trait; plenty of others are looking at VTOL tech, but many, including DARPA, are using a hybrid fuel approach to work around some of the design and performance challenges of relying exclusively on electric.

Lilium's Flight Envelope Protection System prevents the pilot from performing maneuvers that would take the aircraft beyond safe flight parameters. Lilium also marked the occasion by announcing a new 5-seater design, which it envisions will be used for on-demand flying taxi and ride-sharing services in the future. To put into perspective, it only takes 5 minutes for the Lilium Jet to travel from JFK International Airport to Manhattan, New York, which ordinarily takes about an hour in a taxi or a auto.

With Lilium's latest accomplishment, the field is starting to get interesting.

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