Germany's Lilium says successfully tests 'flying taxi' prototype

Germany's Lilium says successfully tests 'flying taxi' prototype

Germany's Lilium says successfully tests 'flying taxi' prototype

The company announced Thursday it has tested its all-electric flying vehicle, Lilium Jet, in Germany.

The two-seater prototype aircraft uses about the same amount of power as an electric auto during flight, and its creators are hoping to spark a revolution in global transit.

Potential competitors include much bigger players such as Airbus, the maker of commercial airliners and helicopters that aims to test a prototype self-piloted, single-seat "flying car" later in 2017.

But makers of "flying cars" still face hurdles, including convincing regulators and the public that their products can be used safely.

As you can see in the video below, although the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jet looks similar to current airplanes, as the name implies, it does not require a runway and can ascend into the air vertically with the help of its three electric engines.

"Seeing the Lilium Jet take to the sky and performing sophisticated maneuvers with apparent ease is testament to the skill and perseverance of our wonderful team", said co-founder and chief executive Daniel Wiegand.

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The Jet can travel more than 300 kilometers (186.4 miles), with a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour.

Lilium says this is five times faster than cars with a journey from New York's JFK to Manhattan taking 55 minutes by auto but just five in the Jet.

Lilium, founded in 2014 by four graduates from the Technical University of Munich, is unusual on the German startup scene, which is dominated by e-commerce firms largely based in Berlin and self-financed engineering firms dotted around the country.

The firm, backed with around £9m in cash from venture capital investors including Atomico, said the two seater pod-like vehicle has been put through "rigorous" testing over the skies of Germany.

Google, Tesla and Uber have also reportedly shown interest in the new technology.

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