Lilium flying aircraft takes off (literally). Are we close to flying taxis becoming a reality?

Electric flying aircraft are set to take the world by storm next decade. German manufacturers such as Lilium and Volocopter are leading the race to introduce flying taxis as part of our daily commute.
Lilium Jet
Lilium is an electric jet that has 36 engines o its flaps. Photo: Lilium

The BBC reports that the Lilium jet can take off vertically like a helicopter but can tilt its wings like an airplane. This aircraft is electronically powered and is small enough to operate in a metropolis. Additionally, the manufacturer expects Lilium to have a range of 185 miles at a cruising speed of 170 mph.

The future of travel?

The brand states that it hopes to not only transport passengers around their cities but believes it has the power to connect people to other locations in their country. It also has hinted of plans to operate cross-country services. As an example, it states that it could reach Calais in France from London in 30 mins.

However, further testing needs to be completed before these electronic vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) devices are approved. Darrel Swanson, who is the head of an eVTOL consultancy is optimistic about the swift introduction of the technology.

“Most eVTOL manufacturers I have been talking to are trying to get certification by 2023,” Swanson said, as reported by the BBC.

In addition, governments have also shown their interest in supporting such technology. The United Kingdom recently announced its intention to invest heavily in research for the development of electronic aircraft.

Lilium
Lilium is one of many eVTOLs that could dominate the flying taxi market in the next decade. Photo: Lilium

Practicality issues

There is also a further concern about the practicality of operating the aircraft. eVTOLs such as Lilium are small enough to glide through low skies of cities without much interference but they will require sufficient take-off and landing points.

At the moment, helicopter landing pads could be used for these units but there are not enough of them inconvenient places and are also reserved for particular operations. Nonetheless, once the demand for these flying taxis grows, there will be incentives to build landing spots for these products.

In addition to the plane-like constructions such as Lilium, there are also electronic innovations being introduced that operate like helicopters. On Tuesday, the Volocopter made a successful test flight in Singapore. The multirotor aircraft holds a range of around 22 miles and can reach a speed of 68mph.

Volocopter
The Volocopter successfully completed a test flight in Singapore this week. Photo: Volocopter

Nearly there

Manufacturers and authorities will be working hard to review the logistics and safety aspects of the proposed operations. However, the reality is that if approved, there will be an additional way to avoid those traffic jams in the morning. Ultimately, if the industry for these flying taxis grows, the way they initially operate may be like that of standard aircraft, in terms of timings and allocated airspace.

Do you see an industry for these electronic flying aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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