Lilium, the German start-up aiming to make flying taxis, has hired the designer behind the modern Mini and Fiat 500.
Frank Stephenson, who has worked for some of the world's biggest car manufacturers, has been tasked with managing the company's design operations.
The company wants to create a fleet of "flying taxis" over the next decade
The company, which was founded by four students from Munich Technical University in 2015, is currently working on a compact aircraft that can travel up to 300 kilometres per hour. It sports 36 electric jet engines.
Ambitious in its aims, the company wants to create a fleet of "flying taxis" over the next decade. It already has plans to test a vertical take-off jet in 2019, with hopes of taking its first commuter flight bookings by 2025 - regulators permitting, of course.
The 58-year-old designer, who has held roles at BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and McClaren during his long career in the automotive industry, will lead the design of the jet to make it look like a plane from the outside, but a car on the inside.
Stephenson will also create landing pads and a departure lounge for the service.
Lillium said he will "lead a new team to create company design language", which includes the jet as well as the firm's " wider infrastructure".
Lilium is going to revolutionise city travel by moving journeys from the ground into the sky
Currently, the company employs more than 100 people, although Stephenson will recruit a new design team from scratch to work on the project.
"Lilium is going to revolutionise city travel by moving journeys from the ground into the sky. The technology that they have already developed is truly mind boggling," he said.
"My job - as we accelerate towards production and a roll-out of the service - is to develop a design that will make it not just an efficient service but a supremely well designed one.
Stephenson said he will apply his previous experience to the design of the jet. He added: "Throughout my whole career I've worked hand in hand with engineers, creating vehicles that will be mechanically efficient and technically effective while also looking beautiful.
Frank's work is unique - he creates entirely new design languages that aren't like anything that anyone has ever seen before
Daniel Wiegand, Lilium's CEO and co-founder of Lilium, said: "Frank has created not just some of the most beautiful cars in the world, but some of the most high performance and functional vehicles ever seen on the road.
"Frank's work is unique - he creates entirely new design languages that aren't like anything that anyone has ever seen before. That is exactly what we're trying to achieve at Lilium."
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