Friday, April 19, 2024

Lilium proposed a modular design of urban vertiport for flying taxi

German aerial-taxi startup Lilium is designing a vertiport, a vertical landing site for air taxis that has a smaller footprint, and is also smart and safe. The company believes that thanks to the modular vertiports, it will be possible to quickly develop a network of platforms for receiving and sending small passenger aircraft – so-called air taxis – with vertical take-off and landing.

Lilium has created the design guidelines as part of its plan to launch a fully electric air taxi service in various cities around the world by 2025.

Its design for modular vertiports could be placed at an existing transportation terminal, next to a shopping center, on top of a busy car park, or alongside a suburban residential development. Thanks to its modularity, it is possible to assemble a vertiport designed for almost any throughput.

Three different vertiport designs using the same modular elements.
Three different vertiport designs using the same modular elements. Credit: Lilium

The vertiport project developed by Lilium involves the construction of such sites from a series of prefabricated modules. Each module consists of a set of functional components that are optimized for regulatory compliance and reliable operations. Such modules can be assembled at the factory, delivered to the right place, and docked in the vertiport there.

According to the German company, whether a Vertiport is designed to facilitate 20 flights per day or 20 flights per hour, it will have three factors in common: a take-off area, parking stalls, and a terminal. It’ll also need high-power charging equipment, air traffic control technology for high throughput operations, and digital check-in tools.

Under the motto “adaptable and scalable”, Lilium plans to keep its design slim and modular to allow its network to grow rapidly, which will help deliver high-speed connectivity in a fraction of the time it usually takes to build roads or railways. It also allows them to adapt their standardized designs according to location, passenger demand, and available spaces.

An exemplary urban vertiport layout
An exemplary urban vertiport layout. Credit: Lilium

It is also estimated that the smallest possible modular vertiport will cost the customer €1-2 million. This vertiport includes two parking places for an air taxi, a runway, and a small terminal. The highest structures require an investment of €7-15 million, depending on their situation and size.

In addition to vertiports, Lilium is also developing five-seater Lilium Jet electric taxis. It is powered by 36 electric motors with six of them on each of the two front wings and twelve on each rear wing. According to the project, air taxis will be able to fly at speeds up to 300 km (186 mph). The flight range of the device on a full charge of batteries will be about 300 km (186 miles).

Definitely, the revolution in the way we travel is coming. Lilium is not the only company aiming to develop a network of air taxis. Last year, the startup Volocopter unveiled the design concepts for its “VoloPorts.”