We’re still not getting any closer to the myriad of SF pictures showing the sky littered with flying cars – though that’s not for the lack of companies trying.
The Jetsons’ era is still a bit far, but we’re taking steps towards the implementation. For example, we now have a video of the Lilium – a jet powered flying car that just performed its maiden flight. It was done autonomously – but it’s a start and the first manned flight is also coming. The Munich, Germany-based Lilium Aviation is showcasing its new, electric two-seater in action. The craft is actually getting power from 36 jet engines mounted on its wings, and uses a set of special “flaps” that give vertical take-off and landing capabilities. Once in the air, the flaps are repositioned for the forward thrust.
The company adds the jet car’s electric batteries “consume around 90 percent less energy than drone-style aircraft,” and that gives it a range of 186 miles (300 kilometers) per charge with a maximum cruising speed of 183 miles per hour (300 kilometers per hour). According to Co-Founder Patrick Nathen, we’re dealing with “the same battery that you can find in any Tesla,” while the whole concept is “that we are lifting with our wings as soon as we progress into the air with velocity, which makes our airplane very efficient.” When on sale, it should come with full autonomous capabilities, as well as safety features, inclining parachutes and a “Flight Envelope Protection System,” which keeps pilots from exceeding safe flight parameters.