Lilium, a German start-up with Silicon Valley-scale ambitions to develop a 5-passenger ''flying taxi'', has raised a second, $90 million round of financing from top tech investors, as the race to to make electric-powered flying an every day event, hots up. Kate King reports.
Hovering in the skies above Munich, this airplane looks the stuff of science fiction. Yet, German start-up Lilium says this is very much reality. SOUNDBITE (English) CO-FOUNDER & CEO, DAINEL WIEGAND, SAYING: "We want to establish a new means of transportation." It's two-seater electric powered jet is only the start of it. The company, founded by four graduates in 2015, has just raised a second $90 million to develop its next project. A 5-passenger 'flying taxi', capable of both vertical take-off and jet flight. SOUNDBITE (English) CO-FOUNDER & CEO, DANIEL WIEGAND, SAYING: "So you have an airplane that takes off vertically like a helicopter, but once it is in the air it accelerates into forward flight and flies with wing-borne lift." The funding is led by Chinese internet giant Tencent, and a raft of other European investment firms. The electric powered race is hotting up. Two years ago Airbus debuted its E-plane and is said to be working on testing a self-piloted flying car sometime this year. Uber is also said to be spreading its wings - But it's Lilium which is attracting all the attention. A manned test-flight of the five-seater is expected around 2019 - with roll-out sometime in the next decade.