The Age Of Electric Extends To Flying Taxis

The Age Of Electric Extends To Flying Taxis

You want to get from one side of New York to the other, the traffic is mayhem and you're nowhere near a train. In just 6 years, you might have the option to open an app on your phone and call a flying taxi to take you where you want to be in a fraction of the usual time. What's more, the 'taxi' is electric and costs pretty much the same as its road-based alternative.

The German company Lilium has revealed its new electric jet-powered aircraft, with a capacity of up to five people including the pilot. It is propelled vertically like a helicopter and then cruises horizontally to its destination using no more electric more than a standard EV. Lilium's mission is to 'meet society's demands for quiet, green urban air travel' all while reducing our reliance on road building and fossil fuelled transport.

The aircraft will operate between a network of landing/take-off pads, so not quite as on-demand as Uber or traditional taxis, however without the need for interconnecting tracks or roads the potential air pad network could be extensive.

With an estimated market forecast of $1.5tn by 2040 (Morgan Stanley) for flying taxis, it is unsurprising that Lilium are not alone in this venture. Boeing, Airbus, Rolls Royce and Uber are also developing this type of aircraft. Key issues will be public acceptance and regulation - with drones causing high profile airport disturbances in the UK and Ireland this year, these companies will need to prove that they can operate safely for passengers and those on the ground.