Web Summit 2019: Meet the flying taxi that could revolutionise how we move around

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By Chris Harris
Web Summit 2019: Meet the flying taxi that could revolutionise how we move around
Copyright  Credit: Lillium

A futuristic flying taxi with the potential to revolutionise where we choose to live could be airborne in little more than five years it’s been claimed.

Munich-based start-up Lilium has just successfully completed the first stage of flight testing for its all-electric prototype.

It wants commercial services for its aircraft — which take off and land vertically — to begin in “several locations worldwide” by 2025.

Lilium said the jet will have a top speed of 300 kilometres-per-hour — making it the fastest all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

“Think what this means to our lives and countries,” said Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand.

“Suddenly we can live in the countryside and work in the cities.

“And instead of making all these infrastructure investments [for traditional transport] we can redirect public spending into other areas.”

Wiegand, speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday, said the jet needed just a small concrete surface to land and take off from, which included a charging facility.

He also said the jet will be emissions-free, silent and able to travel 300 kilometres on a single charge.

Their take-up would potentially allow pressure to be taken off major cities, which are forecast to have two billion more people living in them by 2050.

“I think globally we’re facing several problems at the same time,” said Wiegand. “One of them is our population is growing, which automatically triggers more transportation need.

“The second thing is in the cities we’re creating a problem of congestion, we need more roads as they get bigger.

“This is why there is a desperate need for something that connects us faster.

“Of course, we can do this on the ground with high-speed rail, but it would be prohibitively expensive.

“And this is why we think there is such a demand for something like we do.”