Technology

Flying Taxi Start-Up Hires Designer Behind Modern Mini, Fiat 500

Flying Taxi Start-Up Hires Designer Behind Modern Mini, Fiat 500: Lilium, a German start-up with Silicon Valley-scale aspiration and goals actually set an electric “flying taxis” in the air which will be almost ready after 10 years, this has been hired by Frank Stephenson, the designer behind iconic car brands which, includes, the modern Mini, Fiat 500 and McLaren P1.

Flying Taxi Start-Up Hires Designer Behind Modern Mini, Fiat 500

The Lilium is making and developing a budding a lightweight aircraft which will be powered by 36 electric jet engines mounted on its wings.

This Lilium set a target to travel at speeds of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) per hour, by way of a range around the 300 km on a single charge, the firm has stated.

Actually, originate in 2015 by four Munich Technical University students; the Bavarian firm already set a plans to showcase a fully functional vertical take-off electric jet by the end of this year, with plans to start an online booking of customer and commuters flights by the year 2025.

Flying Taxi Start-Up Hires Designer Behind Modern Mini, Fiat 500

This one is regarded as one of the numbers of companies, from Chinese automaker Geely to U.S. ride-sharing firm Uber, who are keen to tap advances in drone technology, high-performance materials alongside the automated driving to turn aerial driving – long a staple of science fiction films, like “Blade Runner” – into reality.

Stephenson, 58, actually holds an American and the British citizenship, is all set to join the aviation start-up in this May. He lives west of London, all set to commute weekly to Lilium’s offices outside of Munich.

His vital works and job are to design a plane on the outside as well as inside the car.

The being prominent for the series of hits at BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and McLaren, Stephenson is all set to play a major role in the sector of the leading aspects for the Lilium design, which includes, the interior and exterior of its jets, the service’s landing pads as well as its departure lounges.

“With Lilium, we don’t have to base the jet on anything that has been done before,” Stephenson told Reuters in an interview.

“What’s so incredibly exciting about this is we’re not talking about modifying a car to take to the skies, and we are not talking about modifying a helicopter to work in a better way.”

Stephenson recalled working at Ferrari some years ago and considers this as the greatest job a grown-up kid which could ever want. But the limits of working at such cases dawned on him: “I always had to make a car that looked like a Ferrari”.

His move to McLaren, where he worked from 2008 until 2017, freed him to design a new look and design language from scratch: “That was as good as it gets for a designer,” he told.

Lilium is making and embryonic a five-seat flying electric vehicle for commuters post the tests in 2017 of a two-seat jet which is making it capable of a mid-air transition from hover mode, like drones, into the wing-borne flight, which was very akin to the conventional aircraft.

After merging these two features which are somehow separates Lilium from rival start-ups and this one is also operational on so-called flying cars or taxis which is rely on a drone or helicopter-like technologies, like, the German rival Volocopter or European aerospace giant Airbus.

“If the competitors come out there with their hovercraft or drones or whatever type of vehicles, they’ll have their own distinctive look,” Stephenson told.

“Let the other guys do whatever they want. The last thing I want to do is anything that has been done before.”

The jet is having a power consumption per kilometer comparable to an electric car, which can offer passenger flights at prices taxis now charge but this will be more speeds, in fact, the incresment of the five times faster, Lilium has said.

However, flying cars can face several of the hindrances hurdles, including convincing regulators which is for the public that their products can be used safely. Governments are still wrestled with regulations for drones and driverless cars.

Lilium has raised more than $101 million in early-stage money from the backers, that is consists of an arm of China’s Tencent and Atomico and Obvious Ventures, the venture firms, correspondingly, of the co-founders of Skype and Twitter.