Lilium, a German-based startup has secured $90 million in funding from Tencent, Atomico, and Obvious Ventures, among others. Following successful test flights last year, the company says that the new funding is helping its vision of a five-seater aircraft move closer to reality.
Lilium had come up with an electric flying taxi that could be summoned by the push of a button on your smartphone. In the company's early stages, the flying taxi could carry two passengers up to speeds of 400km/h.
Using retractable landing gear and fly-by-wire controls, the flying taxi could land and take off from confined spaces like a garden. Earlier this year, the team finished a successful flying test, including the plane's maneuverability, hovering, and vertical take off capabilities.
Post tests, the company focused on creating a 5-seater aircraft that can fly at a top speed of 300km/h with a range of over 300km. Pointing out to the efficiency of the new aircraft, Lilium claims that fares will be cheaper compared to road travel while being five times faster.
The newly raised funds will be used to further develop the aircraft and expand the team, before its official manned flight in 2019.
The future of transportation is well in sight — flying taxis. Transportation such as this will be a big boon in helping reduce air pollution and decongesting traffic. If real-world operations prove successful post launch, Lilium could be looking at multiple markets globally.