The project got mentioned before but now the company has collected $90m from reputable investors. Also looking at the people behind it, it seems to be more than the typical “reserve your position now, fully refundable deposit” nonsense.
They have electric turbofans as ailerons and a canard with more electric turbofans. The prototype has flown successfully. Compared to the other city transport projects, it should be much more energy efficient and faster due to the use of airfoils for lift during cruise.
Apparently it is only powered by lithium batteries. They claim that you can do a 300km flight at 300kp/h which sounds unrealistic for what is expected from lithium batteries for the next 5 years. A Cirrus type chute is part of the concept.
Still a highly innovative and interesting concept. There is a lot of traction for those self-flying air taxis.
The 300 km/h / 300 km can’t be true … but IF it was it could be a success.
In comparison: The other day I had an intensive look at the TESLA 90D (90 kw/h), and I found out that if I drove 105 km/h max it could get me to our company 345 km away with a 5% reserve with the A/C or heating running, lights etc. At least that’s what the onboard computer of the car calculated. Driving time (due to 70 km narrow country road) would be 4.5 hours, today I drive it in 3-3.5. Test drive next …
I see nobody inside – so it’s a toy
They target autonomous transport like all the new vehicles.
Being able to remote control the vehicle makes certification much easier because you can start messing around with it much sooner without the risk of killing your test pilots.
I would probably put it on a leash as well, like a captive balloon
The other day I had an intensive look at the TESLA 90D (90 kw/h), and I found out that if I drove 105 km/h max it could get me to our company 345 km away with a 5% reserve with the A/C or heating running, lights etc. At least that’s what the onboard computer of the car calculated. Driving time (due to 70 km narrow country road) would be 4.5 hours, today I drive it in 3-3.5. Test drive next …
I have a Tesla Model S P90D and it would easily do your 345km trip. In miles it’s only 215. I would happily set off on that trip if fully charged, and arrive with more than 10% left, and I drive a lot faster than 105 Km/hr
This design is very innovative.
The biggest challenge I can personally see is battery storage.
How they’re going to handle the mass of all those batteries and still provide reasonable performance is the real question for me.
Was really interested early on, but let it go when they said their focus was on air-taxis.
I think this idea is good, but it is far too early for that. I have no desire to be in an aircraft where I have no direct control over the operation of it… even if it is fly-by-wire, using an app or having everything be fully autonomous isn’t happening for a few years at least, which puts this company in the realm of speculation for GA purposes.
If they get serious about experimentals or something similar, my ears will perk up again.
If I understood that correctly the Tesla in which i entered my destination might has calculated that trip based on the preceding consumption, e.g. driving style. Is that correct? It’s possible that the dealer’s demonstrator was driven hard … and that this is the reason why the result of the calculation was so bad?
Whatever, I plan to rent a 90 D and try it. In my company in the Czech Republic i can easily install a charger, so that would be solved. I really like the design and the interior of the Tesla S. I just came back from California and there were so many, I couldn’t believe it!
Dubai is already experimenting with autonomous air-taxis.
There isn’t that much missing to make it work. The Lillium investors are serious outfits. They don’t have to do anything about the battery problem, just wait for the industry to deliver big enough batteries and keep fingers crossed that it will happen soon enough before their fundings runs dry. So far the progress in Lithium battery technology has by far surpassed all predictions. This trend could continue or even accelerate.
I have no desire to be in an aircraft where I have no direct control over the operation of it…
Unless it’s a human at the controls? The question is how safe is it statistically. Humans do stupid things, software can fail but who will fail more often? Autonomous cars have the the very complex issue of having to deal with chaotic traffic and having to handle unforeseen situations that even include moral dilemmas (kill granny or child). The air-taxi only needs cameras and Flarm (for Peter: Avidyne TAS without ADS-B support) and a decent level of redundancy.
There isn’t that much missing to make it work.
Indeed; since Noam Chomsky perfected AI c. 1965, I will invest my pension in this project.
The challenges are massive. Many of them are not even known.
It’s possible that the dealer’s demonstrator was driven hard … and that this is the reason why the result of the calculation was so bad?
Most likely, Alexis. I don’t have a Tesla, but my utility car (a Jeep Cherokee) does exactly that. It readjusts the mileage by periodically updating the parameters. For example, after a week driving in L.A. traffic, filling up and hitting the open road, the range will continuously creep up. Kinda fun to watch range increase while remaining fuel decreases!