There have been a lot of developments in the transport and tech communities lately, ranging from Uber's changing leadership to the impending release of the iPhone 8. However, they all seem to be within the realm of what us humans already know. Yet, a German aviation startup called Lilium seems to be redefining what we know by bringing the first tangible air taxi to market.

Lilium has sealed over $100 million in funding to roll out its five-seater electric jet, which is specifically built to take off and land vertically, making it more convenient as a fast and efficient service vehicle that doesn't face any sort of traffic. The absence of traffic also drastically reduces the incidence of accidents or dangers faced on the ground, which saves money and time in the long run while shielding the company reputation from driving-related complaints. The jet also runs "at speeds of 187mph for one hour on a single charge."

Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand
Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand

"The founding mission of the company was to enable everyone to use this kind of transportation system in their everyday lives," said Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand. "We want to be the leading company enabling every person to take a jet instead of using the car and be five times faster to their destination... There's going to be an app and from day one you'll be able to book this airplane as a service".

The only drawback is that this dreamy jet is still several years in the making. However, the fact that throngs of renowned investors including Tencent, Atomico, Obvious Ventures and LGT have backed Lilium. It also opens up a whole new set of avenues for personal air transport in general, which up until now has only been limited to private jets, chartered planes and helicopters. Even Google's own Larry Page has vested interest in two aviation startups, indicating that it is a field that should be paid close attention to in the coming years.

Further testament to the fact that there is an incredible scope for personal air transport is the level of competition that Lilium faces. A startup based in Massachusetts called Terrafugia has been trying to produce 'roadable' aircraft for around ten years now while Kitty Hawk's personal aircraft made an appearance this year itself. AeroMobil, a Slovakian company, has also been making plays to sell its recent array of flying cars in Asia while Zunum Aero has taken a different route and is focusing on the idea of personalized airports.

Lilium seems to be unique in that its focus remains on the hailing aspect of the endeavor. An electric aircraft would be extremely expensive for the average joe to buy but renting or hiring one as part of a taxi service is a different story. Moreover, Lilium has even grown out its engineering team, with more than 75 people including big names like Dr. Remo Gerber, former MD for Western Europe at Gett.

This indicates that the company is fully preparing itself for the production of its jets at the mass market level. It remains to be seen what further challenges Lilium faces in the future.