We're at an exciting point in history, where a multitude of companies are trying to figure out flying cars, and practically no two design approaches seem alike.
A startup called Lilium's approach is to use conventional jet engines, since their reliability and maintenance needs are well understood. The company's innovation is to go with extremely small and simple jet engines—and to spread 36 of them along multiple wing surfaces, fore and aft.
By having the wings rotate 90 degrees, the company reckons, they can easily achieve VTOL (vertical take-off and landing).
The zero-emissions, battery-powered jet is not intended as a personal vehicle, but intended for taxi-like service. The jet's interior will seat six, with the pilot in a separate cabin up front. Luggage space is comparable to the "volume of a van," according to the company.
With a maximum range of around 155 miles, Lilium envisions setting up regional networks of high-speed travel, with trips booked via app, and rides shared to keep costs down. In essence, a more literal version of Lyft.
Alas, the service will not quite have the convenience of Lyft; the Lilium jet cannot just drop out of the sky and into the street. Instead, passengers will have to travel to a "Vertiport," the company's miniaturized version of an airport—i.e. the very structure, and process, that flying cars are supposed to free us from.
A - Landing pad. B - Gate equivalent. C - Terminal
Perhaps it would be better if we all lived in Airparks.