Photo courtesy of Lilium Aviation
Germany’s Lilium Aviation has received more than $10.7 million in funding for its VTOL Lilium Jet, the company said Monday. This Series A funding round with London-based venture capital firm Atomico could allow the jet to begin flight testing early next year.
The jet aims to be a fully electric, personal commuter vehicle. It is designed as a two-seater, weighing in at around 1,322 lb. Similar to the tiltrotor concept, 36 electric ducted fan engines would point downward at takeoff then orient horizontally for flight. The aircraft would not have a single point of failure, using Lilium’s concept of “ultra redundancy” in which no one component failure would prevent the aircraft from an ordinary vertical landing. In flight, any unsafe pilot commands would be rejected by the Flight Envelope Protection system. The jet would have more than 400 lb of payload, an estimated range of 190 mi and an estimated cruise velocity of up to 190 mph.
Atomico said it began talking with Lilium in early 2016 and made an initial investment before the Series A round. Atomic’s founder is set to join Lilium’s board. Lilium is a startup founded in February 2015 by four aerospace engineers and product designers from the Technical University of Munich. Thus far, the company has constructed seven successfully flown, small-scale models of the Lilium Jet.