The once fanciful concept of flying cars appears to be a step closer to reality, after a German company completed successful test flights of a “flying taxi”.
Munich-based Lilium, backed by investors who include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, said the planned five-seater jet, which will be capable of vertical take-off and landing, could be used for urban air-taxi and ride-sharing services.
In flight tests, a two-seat prototype executed manoeuvres that included a mid-air transition from hover mode – like a drone – to wing-borne flight – like a conventional aircraft, Lilium said.
Potential competitors to Lilium Jet include much bigger players such as Airbus, the maker of commercial airliners and helicopters that aims to test a prototype self-piloted, single-seat “flying car” later in 2017.
The Slovakian firm AeroMobil said at a car show in Monaco on Thursday it would start taking orders for a hybrid flying car that can drive on roads. It said it planned production from 2020.
But makers of “flying cars” still face hurdles, including convincing regulators and the public that their products can be used safely. Governments are still grappling with regulations for drones and driverless cars.
Read more at The Guardian.