Flying Taxi Startup Lands More Investors

Lilium GmbH, a flying-taxi startup, has raised $90 million in its second round of funding.

The Gilching, Germany-based company, which previously raised $10 million from investors, completed an unmanned test flight of a prototype vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plane earlier this year. The firm aims to launch commercial applications by the end of the decade.

Lilium claims its all-electric VTOL will be quieter, faster and less expensive than a traditional helicopter. The concept also is said to be much faster (186 mph) and has a longer range (186 miles) than more complex quadcopter concepts.

The first test flight involved a remotely controlled two-seat model. Lilium’s aircraft is propelled by 36 electric motors mounted to its wings via 12 flaps. The flaps point down at takeoff to provide vertical lift, then gradually tilt horizontally to generate forward thrust.

The motors are powered by several thousand small lithium-ion batteries. Lilium says the configuration consumes half the energy of today’s most efficient electric cars.