April 22, 2017

"Flying cars, that perennial dream for futurists that always seem to be at least five years away, may be a little closer to reality than we realize."

the verge: A lot of prototypes have been showcased recently, and a lot of money is being tossed around. by Andrew J. Hawkins

'More people than ever seem to buy into the crazy notion that in the near future we’ll be buzzing between rooftops in private, autonomous drones. Today, Munich-based Lilium Aviation announced an important milestone: the first test flight of its all-electric, two-seater, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) prototype.

'In a video provided by the Munich-based startup, the aircraft can be seen taking off vertically like a helicopter, and then accelerating into forward flight using wing-borne lift.

'The craft is powered by 36 separate jet engines mounted on its 10-meter long wings via 12 movable flaps. At take-off, the flaps are pointed downwards to provide vertical lift. And once airborne, the flaps gradually tilt into a horizontal position, providing forward thrust.

'During the tests, the jet was piloted remotely, but its operators say their first manned flight is close-at-hand. And Lilium claims that its electric battery “consumes around 90 percent less energy than drone-style aircraft,” enabling the aircraft to achieve a range of 300 kilometers (183 miles) with a maximum cruising speed of 300 kph (183 mph).'

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