Startup reveals new air taxi as it celebrates maiden flight

World's first all-electric vertical flying taxi completes maiden test; take a look

World's first all-electric vertical flying taxi completes maiden test; take a look

Lilium, which has built a five-seater jet-powered flying auto, flew an unmanned test flight of its vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system earlier this month.

"Today we are taking another huge step towards making urban air mobility a reality", the company's co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand said in a statement.

The battery-powered jet is capable of traveling 300 kilometers (186 miles) in 60 minutes on a single charge, and will connect cities through a network of landing pads.

The taxi runs on battery power to operate 36 all-electric jet engines that face downward at take-off but then swing to power horizontal flight. In that time, Lilium's five-seat, jet-like design went from an interesting concept to a real, working aircraft, and it looks very impressive.

Ultimately, Lilium sees its pint-sized plane as being part of an on-demand transportation service where customers can book flights via an app.

The aircraft would come down and land on pads stationed around cities and regions, and whisk passengers away to their destination, or close to it, without adding to a city's pollution, noise and traffic on the ground.

Increasingly, flying cars and other personal craft are no longer just the stuff of imagination.

Lilium's new prototype has an oval cabin and 36 electric jet engines fitted on the wings and tail (the tail is actually a smaller wing, but let's call it a tail).

Uber, Airbus, and Audi are just a few of the big names who have already announced plans to develop some type of flying machine, capable of transporting people to and fro in urban environments and beyond. Kitty Hawk - a flying auto startup created by Google co-founder Larry Page - is already offering test flights to potential customers.

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.

German startup Lilium has developed this flying taxi.

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