Germany based start-up Lilium has completed a test flight of its prototype 2-seater jet over Bavarian skies and announced that it is developing a 5-seater jet that will be designed for on-demand air taxi and ridesharing services.
According to the company, its 2-seater Eagle prototype performed a range of complex maneuvers during the test flight, including mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight.
Lilium said: “We have solved some of the toughest engineering challenges in aviation to get to this point.
“The successful test flight programme shows that our ground-breaking technical design works exactly as we envisioned. We can now turn our focus to designing a 5-seater production aircraft.”
The 5-seater jet to be developed by the company is expected to travel at least five times faster than a car, with improved efficiency in busy cities.
A travel by the jet from Manhattan to New York’s JFK Airport could take around five minutes compared to 55 minutes journey by a car.
In December last year, the start-up received €10m in funding from the London-based European venture capital firm Atomico.
The funding was expected to enable the company to continue developing the Lilium Jet, with flight testing beginning in early 2017, towards commercial production.
Lilium said: “We will see businesses spring up around the Lilium Jet, offering air taxi services and other new models of transportation. Lilium passengers of tomorrow are the people using ride-hailing and car sharing apps today, not private jets.”
Founded in 2014 by four graduates from the Technical University of Munich, Lilium is backed by investors who include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom.
Its potential rivals include Airbus, Slovakian firm AeroMobil and crowd-funded eVolo, Reuters reported.
Airbus, a manufacturer of commercial airliners and helicopters, plans to test a prototype self-piloted, single-seat “flying car” later this year.