The German startup Lilium Aviation has big goals: The Lilium Jet will later on the one hand act as a taxi, but on the other hand can also serve connections between different cities. For this, the engineers have come up with a special technique. So the total of 36 electric motors are mounted on movable flaps. At take-off and landing they point downwards so that a vertical flight is possible. But then the flaps shift to the horizontal, so they act like wings and provide buoyancy. As a result, the electric jet is able to fly much faster than a helicopter. However, the approach also has one drawback: The change of the drive direction is comparatively complicated and involves some challenges for the engineers.
Two unique selling points should make the difference
This is exactly what Lilium Aviation wants to use for its own benefit. Because the company speaks of a unique selling point, which can not be easily copied. The same applies to the battery of the aircraft. Although the startup has bought the battery cells on the open market. These were then assembled in their own right to a battery pack. This should consist of unusually many cells and be comparatively light. All in all, the battery of the Lilium Jet has an output of more than one megawatt. The startup can therefore advertise with two impressive numbers: The air taxi should be able to fly up to 300 kilometers and around 300 kilometers fast. Again, this engineering feat can not easily be copied by other companies.
2024, the first flight taxi to be booked by app
However, the prototype's first test flight lasted less than a minute earlier this month. In the next few months, all necessary flight maneuvers will be tested. If everything goes according to plan, the first flight taxis of the startup could start operating in 2024 – but then with a pilot on board. At the same time, Lilium Aviation already works on autonomous control technology. So far, however, still lacks the legal framework, at least in Germany. But the brains behind the project promise: Even with a pilot, the air taxi will eventually not be more expensive than the classic taxi on the street. The startup investors include Frank Thelen and Skype founder Niklas Zennström.
Via: New Atlas