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Watch: New eVTOL Test Flight Shows How Close We Are To Flying Taxis

Watch: New eVTOL Test Flight Shows How Close We Are To Flying Taxis

German air taxi startup Lilium has completed its first round of testing, with its five-seater, 36- ducted fan, flying taxi prototype. The company has also completed its first manufacturing plant and employed a professional aerospace executive to lead its flying program.  

The company includes sound in the latest video, claiming that its aircraft will be quieter than previous air taxis by employing ducted fans instead of open rotors.  

When it comes to design, Lilium stands out among the current crop of “flying vehicle” startups, with an egg-shaped cabin mounted on the landing gear and a pair of parallel tilt-rotor wings. In addition, 36 electric jet engines are mounted on the wings, which tilt up for vertical takeoff and then shift forward for horizontal flight.

Lilium’s fast-spinning rotors generate a high-pitched sound. However, that sound is only a part of what it will actually be like if Lilium air taxis are taken across the skies in the future. This is primarily because the Lilium aircraft is piloted remotely in the video, as it has been in the majority of air taxi runs as yet. In addition, a full capacity eVTOL seems to be more raucous as the fans offset the additional weight.

However, upon landing about 300 feet (90 meters) from the camera, the Lilium aircraft is surprisingly quiet. For eVTOL firms who intend to free their air taxi in congested areas, silence is a must-have function. Therefore, Lilium designed its aircraft with a low noise profile.

Lilium is one of many eVTOL companies making bold claims about flying taxis. Take a look at the new Lilium footage and decide for yourself. 

“Transport infrastructure is broken,” Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium, said in March. “It is costly in personal time, space consumption, and carbon emissions. We are pursuing our unique electric jet technology because it is the key to higher-capacity aircraft, with a lower cost per seat mile while delivering low noise and low emissions.”

Another German firm, Volocopter, stated in March that it will launch its services “within two years.” Based in the US, Joby Aviation recently published test footage of its eVTOL aircraft flying 150 miles on a single charge. There have been setbacks in the flying taxi industry, which is predicted to grow to $6.63 billion in market size by 2030. Lilium’s first prototype plane caught fire during a test flight only a year ago. Although more research must be done before flying taxis are certified and begin transporting people, 2024 may well be remembered as the year urban public transportation ascended to the skies.