German start-up Lilium has announced its electric-powered prototype had a first successful test ‘drive’ earlier this month. Pic: TechGenYZ

You’d be hard-pressed to hail one from the kerb – but this five-seater pilotless ‘flying taxi’ could be whisking you home within six years’ time.

German start-up Lilium has announced its electric-powered prototype had a first successful test ‘drive’ earlier this month.

The aircraft, which has a top speed of 300 km and range of nearly 320 km, takes off vertically like a helicopter but has wings for horizontal flight. The announcement will surely light a fire under Lilium’s rivals – including Airbus and Boeing, whose own similar models have a range of just 80 km.

Lilium, which has raked in more than $100million from investors, will launch an Uber-style app to help passengers find nearby landing pads for a flight they claim will be ‘comparable in price with a taxi, yet four times faster’.

The five-seater follows a two-seater prototype, which successfully flew in 2017. Lilium says it will offer an ‘on-demand air taxi service’ by 2025.

Head of flight testing Leandro Bigarella said: ‘While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, the jet performed exactly as expected and responded well.’

In March the US-based Aerospace Industries Association predicted flying vehicles will be ‘a part of everyday commutes’ by 2050.

© Daily Mail