Munich-based Lilium unveiled its electric car, the Lilium Jet, last year and successfully completed the first stage of flight testing just six months later. With vertical takeoffs and landings, something that has long challenged the aerospace industry, the need for runways has spread; meaning what you need in a city is called the size or location of the helipad, the “Lili pad”.
A German startup company is developing an “on-demand air mobility service” – yes, its air taxis – aimed at setting up an installation in Orlando, Florida that could jeep flying vehicles by 2025.
Not a flying car per set, but a small five-seater vertical takeoff – less in the fifth element than in the Delorian, less in the Bruce Willis taxi.
Now, you might think, great, they invented the helicopter, but Lilliam’s goal is to create an eco-friendly regional transport network across the country using electric vehicles everywhere. Despite having 36 electric motors, the jet is seven times quieter than the helicopter, as loud as a passing truck, and according to the company, it will be completely audible if it rises above 400 meters (1,300 feet).
Lilium already has production facilities in two Munichs and has partnered with Cologne / Bonn and airports to explore the reality of electric vehicle transport centers. Now, the company wants to explore the development of other countries. According to the Orlando Business Journal, Lilliam plans to take tax steps to build a 5,200-square-meter (56,000-square-foot) transportation hub in the city that could bring more than 100 jobs to the region.
The emission-free aircraft will be able to fly up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) per hour on a single charge, compete with high-speed trains, and take about a quarter of the time it takes to travel by car (say, Tesla). Although the test planes are now open, Lilium is working to make these cars a reality by 2025, which is where Orlando comes from.
It is the second state to allow self-driving trials and subsequently passed a law allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road beyond the test. Its laws even make the Florida government consider autonomous vehicles in any future road and urban planning. An autonomous automotive industry – including flying vehicles and, yes, flying cars – is growing rapidly in the United States and is at the center of Orlando. Florida took the initial steps to pass legislation to encourage car trials. Orlando is one of 10 places in the United States designated as an autonomous vehicle testing area.
The region already hosts Luminar Technology, which makes autonomous vehicle sensors, and Beep, Inc., which launched its autonomous electric shuttle service on Nonar Lake last September, but now companies are moving farther and farther away from the state. The city is currently working on a “master plan” to become a “smart city”, and longitudinal takeoff vehicles are a key issue for technology-focused programs.As mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer wrote: “In Orlando, our goal is to become America’s major future-ready city.”
Thirty-five years ago, the future could be predicted in the future. We will all have flying cars by 2015, but instead of having eco-friendly, emission-free flying vehicles, we don’t think anyone will think so, even a decade later.