What do 'The Jetsons', 'Star Wars', and 'Back to the Future' have in common? Flying cars.
If Lilium Aviation will have its way, there will be flying cars in the real world.
Lilium is a startup company based in Munich, Germany. The company was founded a couple of years ago by four entrepreneurs. Its founders wanted to build a craft that could fly up to 3,000 meters high and can easily maneuver between cities.
The company is working on a Lilium Jet prototype that can go as fast as 300kph with a range of 300km. With those figures, the flying car could be faster than any current mass transit system in the world. Business Insider mentions that with that speed, the travel time from San Francisco to Palo Alto will just be 15 minutes or less. Going to Munich from Frankfurt? That will only take around an hour.
Lilium got a major backer recently in the form of Niklas Zennström. He is co-founder and the former CEO of Skype and is currently focusing on Atomico, his venture capital firm. Zennström donated 10million euros to Lilium to help in its effort to produce the very first aircraft that is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL).
The concept of a vehicle in the form of an electrical jet that can take-off and land vertically is quite familiar. This concept is a favorite among sci-fi writers and filmmakers. There's Doc Emmet Brown's flying time machine made from a DeLorean DMC-12 car from the 'Back to the Future' film series. The 'Star Wars' universe have the air speeder's of plane Coruscant while 'Blade Runner' has the Spinner which is described as "ground-based vehicle" that can "take off vertically". Another cult classic, 'The Fifth Element', also makes use of flying cars like the taxi piloted by Bruce Willis' character.