New eVTOL Test Flight Video Shows How Close We Are to Flying Taxis

You can finally hear the sound of the future.
Chris Young
Lilium's demonstrator aicraftLilium

Lilium, the German firm developing flying taxis propelled by 36 small ducted fans, has released new footage of its 5th-generation demonstrator prototype, a report from New Atlas explains. The company, which claims that using ducted fans as opposed to open rotors will make its aircraft quieter than other air taxis, included sound in the new video.

The Lilium air taxi emits a somewhat high-pitched sound due to the fast-spinning rotors of its small fans. However, that sound is only partially representative of what it will truly be like when Lilium air taxis are zipping through the skies in the not-too-distant future. That's because, as is the case in the majority of air taxi test flights so far, the Lilium aircraft is being piloted remotely in the video. A full capacity eVTOL aircraft will make more noise as the fans compensate for the added weight.

Still, when the Lilium aircraft comes to land approximately 300 feet (90 meters) from the camera, it is relatively quiet. Relative silence is a crucial feature for eVTOL aircraft firms hoping to set their air taxis free in bustling city spaces. That's why Lilium built its 35-fan aircraft with a focus on having a lower noise profile. Have a look at the new footage from Lilium yourself to see what you think.

'Transport infrastructure is broken'

Lilium is one of several eVTOL firms making big promises about flying taxis and the future of public transport. "Transport infrastructure is broken," Daniel Wiegand, co-founder, and CEO of Lilium said in March. "It is costly in personal time, space consumption, and carbon emissions. We are pursuing our unique electric jet technology because it is the key to higher-capacity aircraft, with a lower cost per seat mile while delivering low noise and low emissions."

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Back in March, another German startup, Volocopter, announced it will start its services "within two years." US firm Joby Aviation also recently released test flight footage showing its eVTOL aircraft flying 150 miles on a single charge. Though the flying taxi industry has great potential — its market size is expected to reach $6.63 billion by 2030 — there have been setbacks. Only a year ago, Lilium's first prototype jet burst into flame during a test flight. A great deal of work is still required before flying taxis gain certification and start carrying passengers, but 2024 may just go down as the year in which urban public transport took to the skies.

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