A Lilium Jet electric air taxi prototype managed to hover successfully above the ground during its maiden flight in Oberpfaffenhofen, a Bavarian village in Germany.
The five-seater EV weighs about one and a half tonnes (3,300 lbs) and encountered no issues while hovering over a fixed point during this first test.
The next step will be to attempt more complex flying maneuvers and actually move forward, as reported by Spiegel.
These flying taxis will apparently be ready for commercial use in at least two German cities by the year 2025 and will utilize 36 electric jet engines embedded in the wings. They will also be very quiet and “will be able to fly at 300 km (186 mph) per hour for an hour,” said the company’s co-founder Daniel Wiegand.
“The Lilium plane tends to be cheaper than a helicopter because there is almost no mechanics in it and it consumes only a tenth of the energy,” he added. Wiegand also wants his company to operate all the flying taxis themselves, using their own booking platform.
“I exclude that we sell the plane to wealthy private individuals or companies, and the goal is for many citizens to book flights with us, for prices like a taxi.”
The five-seat Lilium Jet, which is based on a two-seat test model, will continue to be remotely controlled during test flights. However, once in operation come 2025, it will be flown initially by a pilot, in order to make things easier in terms of licenses and approvals.
“In ten years maybe it should be able to fly autonomously,” concluded the company’s boss.