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World's first air taxi makes maiden flight, without a pilot
Hardware Mobility 2 min read No comments

World's first air taxi makes maiden flight, without a pilot

The streets are congested, the trains are full, and there is only one way left to go... into the air. The Lilium Jet is the world's first air taxi, and now it has flown for the first time. The Lilium Jet originates from Germany and will in future even be operated without a pilot.

The first flight did not last particularly long. In less than a minute the Lilium Jet was launched, floated a little in the air and then landed again, all remote controlled. While the maiden flight took place on 4 May, Lilium has now analyzed the data and announced the result. "The aircraft behaved excellently, there were no error messages from the systems," said Lilium founder Daniel Wiegand.

The Lilium Jet has five seats and not one big engine, but 36 small ones. They can be tilted 90 degrees to allow the jet to take off and land without a runway. Due to the wings and their lift, the air taxi is significantly faster than a helicopter. The prototype now shown should already be very close to the final product.

The Lilium Jet is said to have a range of 300 kilometers with one battery charge: "In terms of its share of total weight, the aircraft is virtually a flying battery," says Wiegand. The batteries are manufactured externally but were developed by Lilium itself. "It [the battery] is extremely light and has many cells. This enables us to achieve large ranges," he says.

The output is more than one megawatt, but Wiegand did not reveal any further details. The battery should have enough capacity to perform seven to eight short flights within a big city. After four to five minutes of charging time, 60 to 70 kilometers are possible again. "In practice, there will be no waiting times for charging and no battery changes," says Wiegand.

Lilium FO004 air taxi service landing pad screen
This is how Lilium sees the future. / © Lilium

Starting in 2025

But Lilium Jet still has a long way to go before it can really start with the air taxi. In five years' time, the company plans to obtain the necessary approval from the security authorities so that it can start operating in 2025. Initially, the Lilium Jet will be flown by a pilot, but the goal is for it to become completely autonomous.

Would you like to fly in an air taxi like that?

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