It’s a car, it’s a plane, it’s—oh heck, who knows anymore? Although people can’t agree on what to call it, Lilium is a two-seater electric aircraft designed for personal use. While not exactly the ‘flying car’ of sci-fi dreams, Lilium was created in a European Space Agency business incubator in Bavaria. The company says they plan to release the electric two-seater in 2018. Lilium will be the world’s first ultralight vertical takeoff and landing aircraft created for personal use.
The fixed-wing aircraft is made to launch vertically so that it doesn’t need a runway. Lilium will initially be restricted to airfields for take off and landing, due to regulations, but its makers foresee a day when a private owner will be able to lift off from just about anywhere, such as a rooftop or even a backyard. Lilium just needs a flat area measuring 15 x 15 meters (50 x 50 feet), much like a helicopter. The personal aircraft can travel at up to 400 km/h (almost 250mph) and has a range of 500 km (310 miles).
“Our goal is to develop an aircraft for use in everyday life,” said Lilium CEO and cofounder Daniel Wiegand. “We are going for a plane that can take off and land vertically and does not need the complex and expensive infrastructure of an airport. To reduce noise and pollution, we are using electric engines so it can also be used close to urban areas.”
A tiny electric aircraft that anyone can fly is bound to cause some controversy. Lilium’s recent write-up on Gizmodo gives us an idea what the public might think about such a contraption, with commenters joking that Lilium’s personal aircraft is simply the next evolution of Google’s self-driving ‘koala’ cars. And we have to admit, we can see the resemblance.
Images via Lilium Aviation