Lilium, the technology company we covered a while ago that’s creating its own flying taxi, has now completed its Series B round of funding, raising $90 million and taking them closer to their goal.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Lilium’s co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand said:
“The founding mission of the company was to enable everyone to use this kind of transportation system in their everyday lives. We want to be the leading company enabling every person to take a jet instead of using the car and be five times faster to their destination… There’s going to be an app and from day one you’ll be able to book this airplane as a service”.
The service is still years away, and Wiegand says that the timeline will follow one that is typical for an aircraft this size. The jet taxi seats five, and is expected to travel up to 183 miles, on a single charge using Tesla batteries. Yes, that’s right, the goal for the flying taxi has always been to make it all electric, so you’ll probably hear it humming past you overhead, not roaring like a typical jet engine would. In fact, at the height it will travel – 1km – you won’t even be able to hear it from the ground.
The electric jet engines will be able to carry the Lilium at speeds of up to 183 mph. But more than being a solution to urban congestion, the company feels that it will tremendously increase the productivity of its users. If passengers can travel five times as fast as they can on urban roads, they’ll get to their destinations five times faster, allowing them to do more.
The service could be years away, but if and when it does launch, it will help revolutionize the urban transportation industry like nothing else has since car-sharing services like Uber.
Several other entities are looking at similar solutions, including Uber itself, as well as the Airbus-backed Vahana project, and Larry Page-backed Kitty Hawk and Zee.aero projects.
The race to launching the first ever flying taxi service could take several more years, but it will completely alter the urban transportation equation. The trick is to make the flying taxi safe, attractive and affordable for it to work as a service with mass appeal.
We don’t know who will reach the finish line first, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s when the competition sets in that this yet-to-be-born industry will truly flourish. A lot of the names we’re hearing now won’t even be there in the future, and some that are yet to start could become market leaders. It’s unpredictable, but very exciting.