Did you grow up with dreams of a reality where you can glide through the sky like Marty McFly in Back to the Future II or Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element? If a German startup has anything to say about it, flying cars will be in our future sooner than anticipated.
German start-up company Lilium recently finished a $90 million round of funding in hopes of financing the development of a “flying taxi.” This massive round of funding puts Lilium towards the top of the best-funded companies hoping to build the first commercially viable flying car.
Lilium’s current plan is to build a five seat electric jet. It would look more like a plane than a car but would have the same function of a flying taxi cab. Projections put the vehicle on pace to travel 12 miles in five minutes, which could cut commute times drastically.
Funding for the company comes from a variety of firms from across the world. They include Chinese internet investors Tencent, the Liechtenstein-centered LGT, Oblivious Ventures (co-founded by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams), and European firm Atomico.
Lilium is not the only one hoping to get a flying car to market. Companies such as Airbus and Uber are hoping to add it to their line of products.A Larry Page-funded startup called Kitty Hawk has also hopped into the competition.
Lilium successfully tested a full-size jet for two people and is hoping to expand it to five. The successful test included a mid-air transition from its drone-like hover mode to operating as a conventional plane.
Remo Gerber, Lilium’s chief commercial officer, said,”The concept goes far beyond what you typically see from German start-ups.”
He added that they plan to use the funds for hiring purposes and in the development of the larger five seat jet. They hope to have manned test flights by 2019.