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After waiting decades for flying cars to become a reality, an increasing number of companies are now developing what was once the stuff of sci-fi shows and movies. Yesterday, AeroMobil unveiled its flying vehicle at the Top Marques Monaco supercar event, while Lilium Aviation released a video showing the successful test flight of its all-electric flying car.
Munich-based Lilium's vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) prototype can rise straight up into the skies like a helicopter using the force from 36 electric jets mounted on its 10-meter wings via 12 movable flaps. Once the craft is airborne, they provide forward thrust by tilting horizontally. Returning the flaps to the original position allows a slow descent.
As noted by The Verge, the jet was piloted remotely during the test, but the first manned flight isn't far away. Lilium says the aircraft has a range of 183 miles and can reach a maximum cruising speed of 183 mph, thanks to its electric battery that "consumes around 90 percent less energy than drone-style aircraft."
Like Ehang's flying taxi drone, Lilium's ultimate goal is for its vehicle to provide an autonomous, on-demand service in urban areas. And for those worried about safety, the jets will come with parachutes on board.
As reported last week, Slovakian flying car startup AeroMobil also revealed its vehicle this week. The company said it can switch from driving to flying mode in 3 minutes and comes with a maximum ground speed of 99 mph and an air speed of 69 to 224 mph, depending on the mode. Its range is around 466 miles.
AeroMobil's hybrid is going into production this year, with the first models set to arrive in 2020. If you want one, best get saving; they'll cost between $1.3 million and $1.6 million.