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Lilium Aviation announced today the first ever vertical takeoff and landing of a personal-use electric vehicle near Munich. The idea is that the 100 percent renewable aircraft has the benefit of a helicopter in not needing a long runway, but is still capable of reaching the top speeds of a jet.
The German company released a video of its impressive feat on YouTube:
The egg-shaped plane can be seen lifting from its platform and raising straight up in the air. It then takes a right turn and gently glides through the sky. The video ends with the jet slowly drifting back onto the airport tarmac.
You wouldn’t expect it from the video, but Lilium claims its tiny two-seater is capable of reaching 300 kph (186 mph) for a range of up to 186 miles. The jet is powered by 36 separate engines mounted to 10-meter long wings.
Lilium says its personal jets will be available to fly out of backyard as soon as 2018—the same year Airbus anticipates a “flying car” prototype. Uber is also working on a flying car, but we suspect it has bigger problems to sort out first.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.