Flying cars may finally become a reality and the company making this happen is named Lilium. It’s a thriving startup founded by 4 visionary aerospace engineers, back in 2015. The company wants to be the best and first to introduce electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aviation on a public platform.
The German-based startup has already developed a complete prototype that flew for the first time in April 2017. Now they are working hard to build out the business for these flying vehicles. To do that, they are exploring commercial applications.
The company has raised $90 million in Series B funding, on September 2017, up from the $11 million raised in 2016. LGT Capital Partners, Obvious Ventures and Tencent are the major investors.
How It Works?
Lilium aim is to develop an aircraft with better performance, safety, speed and range, while reducing the noise and cutting complexity to a factor of 3.
To achieve this, Lilium has a rigid winged body with 12 flaps, each carries 3 jet engines. The flaps tilt from horizontal to vertical position depending on the flight mode. All flaps are in vertical position, at take-off, so that engines can lift the vehicle. Once in the air (at desired altitude), the flaps gradually go into a horizontal position, leading the vehicle to move forward. The wings provide all lift required to aloft, just like conventional aircraft.
Like turbofan jet engines, electric engine inhales air, compress it, and push it out the back, creating forward thrust. Because the compressor fan is powered by a high performance electric motor, they run much quieter (less noise than a motorbike).
In order to ensure high reliability and low maintenance costs, Lilium jet engines consist of only one moving part – rotor’s central shaft that holds both the magnets of the electric motor as well as fan in the front.
Company’s Future Plan
The company will use this funding to develop a 5-seat commercial Jet and grow its current team of more than 70 engineers. This funding will help the company to bring its vision of affordable zero emission flying commercial vehicle closer to realization.
The first functional crewed jet is expected to take off in 2019, and the complete machine equipped with fully-functional systems will go live near 2025. These vehicles do not need any significant infrastructure and they will bring high speed transportation services to both small and large city centers. .
You won’t have to own this vehicle, it will be available to you with a tap on your smartphone, and you will pay per ride. This will help you save your precious time by avoiding traffic jams, while enjoying a spectacular view.
The company claims that their vehicle will cut down the travel time by a factor of 5. It will be able to fly at the maximum speed of 300 km/h for one hour in a single charge. For example, you can cover 19 kilometer journey from Manhattan to JFK Airport within 5 minutes, or fly from London to Paris in 1 hour.
They are 100 percent emission free, so Lilium won’t have any operational environment impact. Also flights are expected to cost less than the same distance covered in a normal road taxi. Impressive, isn’t it?