Every few weeks it seems there's new evidence that flying taxis are more than a flight of fancy.
The latest indication? Flying jet taxi designer Lilium raised $90 million from investors, including China's Tencent Holdings, with its promise to haul passengers from downtown Manhattan to JFK Airport in just five minutes.
The German startup wants to use the money to build a prototype that can seat five people and fly as fast as 186 mph after its two-seater test model had a successful first flight in April.
This summer, Germany's Volocopter received $30 million in funding to develop an electric flying taxi, with Daimler among the investors. Other hopefuls include U.S.-based Terrafugia and Joby Aviation. Airbus also is developing a single-seat "flying car" with auto design company Italdesign.
Just a succession of science projects?
Remo Gerber, Lilium's chief commercial officer, told Bloomberg: "We think our technology could be rapidly adopted in urban areas or between cities — all you need is a landing pad. We're looking for partners who can operate it, at a cost similar to train transport or taxi for passengers."