Cast your mind back to the 80’s and 90’s and you’ll definitely remember a gem of an animated series called The Jetsons – the wacky space family residing in Orbit City and going about their daily woes. One of the most iconic symbols of The Jetsons was the family flying car and if you were anything like I was at that age, then you too would have wished to take a ride in the Jetson car. Fortunately, a German team of super-whizzes are on hand to create their very own.
The Lilium Jet is a concept mode of transportation that involves a ‘flying taxi’, or more appropriately known as a ‘canard with powered lift’ that is capable of unmanned shuttles to and from a charted location. The disruptive aviation startup is intending to become the ‘next Uber’, by building the world’s first fully electrical vertical take-off and landing jet (VTOL).
How Does It Work
The Lilium Jet has 36 engines, all completely electric powered. These engines are attached to the flaps around the winged body and control the elevation, throttle and direction. The easiest way to explain the dynamics of this build is to think of a very large drone. The concept is completely the same – propellers lift the body from the ground vertically and allow the same for landing. The physical structure of its canard body (typically seen in high-speed jets such as the Eurofighter) allow the Lilum to cut and drift through the air for a more controlled flight. This also allows the jet to reach speeds of up to 300km/h and increasing its range per charge to around 300km.
The company is aiming to expand their business with a new host of seed funds from giant capital firms. As it currently stands, they have proven the concept works (below) with a purpose-built prototype five seater jet showing off the quiet vertical take-off and landing. Their timeline suggests that by 2019 a fully manned flight will be tested and by 2025, the Lilium will be available for commercial use.