If the words “flying taxi” make you think of The Jetsons, you might just be in for a surprise. Now, a German company called Lilium is saying that flying taxis are commercially viable and that they just might be available for use by 2025.
Meet The Lilium Jet
Called, the Lilium Jet, this taxi is an electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft (eVTOL) with a rigid, winged body with 12 flaps with each one carrying three electric jet engines. The Lilium Jet uses swivelling ducted fans which provide vertical thrust while lift-off and when sufficient height is reached these fans slowly turn towards rear and propel the jet to move forward.
The jet has a seating capacity of five people which includes the pilot. It can fly for 185 miles on one battery charge at the speed of 185 M/hr.
With significant emphasis given to reducing power consumption, the wings and engine are designed to significantly reduce the energy consumption, which allows it to operate the existing battery technology.
So, will it require a runway platform? No, because its takeoff is in the vertical position, the jet lands vertically which will provide hassle-free parking. And like regular ground taxis, the Lilium Jet isn’t going to be parked in an alley or street, Lilium plans to work with the existing infrastructure of a city to provide public parking such as at the top of tall buildings.
But, in spite of overcoming these challenges, one that still needs working on is making the flight experience more pleasant, especially, the noise. “Our teams have simulated down to the last vortices how these types of engines generate the noise,” Dr Remo Gerber, chief commercial officer at Lilium, spoke at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki, Finland. said. “Then they go on the computer and continuously, in fast iterations, change the blade shapes to manipulate what the noise looks like. And then on top of that, they rebuilt casing around it and rebuilt the materials in the casing to absorb noise.”
Is The Flying Taxi Network Really Viable?
The Lilium jet or the flying taxi services won’t need separate infrastructures like rail lines or highways which will reduce the cost of building them and save up time on the construction which sometimes take years to complete.
It won’t need separate landing pads because as Gerber claims that the existing infrastructures in big cities can be used as landing pads which will make it more accessible for people to access the service.
According to what Gerber said at the conference; a network of 100 connections can be created with just 16 cities which have flying taxis.
Now, there are specific stations or landing pads for these Lilium Jets. These landing pads might not be exactly on the top of your home. To make it possible for the people to reach their home as easily as possible, Lilium is planning on connecting other mobility options. Lilium plans to integrate services like ride-hailing services, public transportation, scooters in one app to help people get to their homes safely without having to waste more time.
Big cities aren’t the only areas Lilium is targeting. Gerber believes Lilium Jets will also benefit travel in rural areas where it wouldn’t make financial sense to construct high-speed trains or highways.
To give you a simple local example, if you’re travelling to Whitefield from Vijayanagar, it will take you 1.45 hours to 2 hours. But, if you were to go by a Lilium Jet, it would take you 30 minutes or less. Imagine the possibilities and peace of mind you would experience.
Lilium is working with cities to launch the service with the goal of the year 2025. Gerber added: “This is my dream. I want to be able to work in new tech centres. But I also want to be able to be 20 minutes later on holiday out in nature.” Gerber promised the jets would have quiet engines and fly at high altitudes so that people won’t be listening to them while living their healthy lives.
With the state of the world’s environment as it is, the Lilium jets can do wonders. If you don’t go into detail and just think about it from the surface, you can see the amount of pollution it can reduce along with the making the already crowded cities more breathable.
In case you wanted to watch the Lilium Jet take flight, here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjAJWrraTKs