Electric aircraft maker Lilium has announced a $US90 million investment that it says will allow them to have autonomous electric flying vehicles in operation by 2025.
‘The investment will be used for the development of the five-seat Lilium Jet that will fly commercially, as well as to grow our current team of more than 70,’ Lilium said.
Lilium flew its prototype vehicle this year. The design uses up to 36 ducted fans, mounted in boxes which rotate between vertical and horizontal thrust. The vehicle takes off vertically and transitions to fixed wing flight like a tilt-rotor aircraft. Lilium says its layout generates lift from the wings, even in vertical take-off mode. The company says its Lilium Jet will be able to travel at up to 300 km/h (162 kt) for one hour on a single charge. It is intended to fly autonomously, with no pilot’s controls.
Lilium was founded in 2015 by four academics at the Technical University of Munich and has grown into a company employing more than 70 engineers. The company recently joined the US General Aviation Manufacturers’ Association (GAMA). It describes its mission as ‘to make air taxis available to everyone and as affordable as riding a car’.