Buckle up! The flying taxi is here

The world of tomorrow: Lilium’s flying taxi could be even better for the environment than electric cars.

Will flying cars take off? A company called Lilium has unveiled its electric-powered flying taxi, following a successful test flight. The vehicle could take to city skies as soon as 2025.

What’s happening

It has been a staple of sci-fi films for decades, but now the flying car is finally here. This week, Lilium (a German start-up) unveiled its five-seater flying taxi.

The company says its Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft could be ferrying people around cities as soon as 2025.

Find out more

The latest model completed a successful test flight earlier this month.

On a small airbase in Germany, the aircraft took off, hovered a few feet from the ground, and landed. It cannot yet fly horizontally, but the company says smaller models have done so.

While the taxi isn’t zooming through the sky just yet, Lilium’s founders say the flight was a “huge step” for flying-car technology.

The vehicle, which will travel at speeds of up to 185 miles per hour, is powered by 36 electric motors. Experts say it could cut pollution in cities, and end traffic jams.

Other tech companies are racing to get there first. Airbus, Uber and Kitty Hawk (founded by Google’s Larry Page) are testing their own flying taxis.

Will flying cars take off?

Some say…

Don’t be so sure. Inventors have been trying to make flying cars for 50 years and we’re hardly any nearer. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, says that loud engines, heavy batteries, the risk of cars out of the sky, and the challenges of 3D traffic mean that flying cars are simply too expensive, complicated and dangerous to work.

Others think…

It’s only a matter of time. At least 16 companies, with some of the world’s brightest minds, are working on flying taxis at this very moment. Airbus has held more than 50 test flights, and Morgan Stanley says that the flying-taxi industry will be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040. We’ll be hailing flying taxis sooner than you think.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to go for a ride in a flying car?

Activities

  1. Make a poster advertising your own flying car, including a drawing of it with labels. Remember to give it an exciting name.

Some People Say...

“Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination.”

Daniel Bell, American writer

What do you think?

Word Watch

Start-up
A new business.
Horizontally
Forward or backwards.
Pollution
When gases released by cars make the air dirtier.
Uber
A popular taxi app.
Morgan Stanley
An investment bank.
Trillion
One thousand times bigger than a billion.

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