Doc Brown from Back to the Future is a personal hero of mine. From his wild hair, his eccentric yet charmingly quirky demeanor, to his cavalier attitude towards stealing plutonium from Libyans, he’s who I aspire to be. Soon enough, I will be able to be that much more like my idol by cruising around in a flying car.
Munich-based aeronautics developer Lilium Aviation announced the first test of it’s flying car. The vehicle they’ve engineered is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) prototype, with two seats and run exclusively by electricity. Powered by 36 different jet engines housed by its 10 meter wings, the aircraft can take off vertically like a helicopter. Once in the air, 12 moveable flaps on its wings can send make the aircraft propel forward at speeds up to 300 kph (183 mph).
A flying car is already impressive, but Lilium boasts that their aircraft is particularly impressive because of the electric battery that powers it. The battery apparently “consumes around 90 percent less energy than drone-style aircraft” according to Lilium, and enables the aircraft to reach 300 km (183 miles) on a single charge.
For now, the aircraft is piloted remotely (that’s how it was tested). Lilium eventually wants to make the flying cars piloted completely autonomously, but are still working with human pilots in mind. As a safety precaution, the aircraft will be have parachutes on-board, as well as the “Flight Envelope Protection System” which prevents the pilot from performing dangerous maneuvers. In other words, no barrel rolls.
According to Back to the Future 2, we should have had not only flying cars, but an entire flying highway system two years ago! But, in reality the road to successful technological innovation and implementation is long and tedious. Luckily for Lilium, where they’re going, they don’t need roads.
[via The Verge]