German flying taxi company Lilium is determined to reinvent the way humans are transported. To help it take flight, the company announced it has secured $90 million in new funding.
The $90 million figure is much higher than its first round of funding, which raised $10 million, according to Tech Crunch. However, since its first investment period, Lilium has built a working prototype of its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) electric plane. The first successful flight was completed via remote control and was an essential step to ensure its design would translate to a production model. The design makes use of rotating electric fans for take-off and flying.
Lilium Eagle electric flying car prototype during maiden test flight on April 20, 2017
During take-off, the electric fans point vertically to propel the VTOL vehicle upward. Then, the electric fans move to a horizontal position to accelerate the vehicle through the air. Once enough lift is created, the wings take over much like a traditional airplane.
The company is aware of the hurdles it will have to overcome for its idea of transportation to one day be accepted as the norm. For example, it will need to work through red tape to ensure dozens of Lilium VTOLs flying about are even legal. However, as far as livability concerns, the company claims the VTOLs are incredibly quiet, and since they’ll be flying at high altitude, people won’t see them buzzing just above their heads.
Lilium claims its VTOL will allow for travel that is five times quicker than a traditional trip by car, but whether it’s the first to realize such a transportation revolution remains to be seen. There are quite a few companies striving towards a similar goal, after all.