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Bell Helicopter unveils full-scale air taxi at CES 2019

January 12, 2019  - By

Bell Helicopter unveiled a full-scale vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) air taxi vehicle during CES 2019, held in Las Vegas.

The air taxi, named Bell Nexus, is powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system and features Bell’s signature powered lift concept incorporating six tilting ducted fans designed to safely and efficiently carry passengers.

Bell Nexus means the nexus of transport and technology and of comfort and convenience. Nexus captures the long-sought-after vision of quick air travel with a unique in-flight experience, keeping passengers connected to their lives and saving valuable time.

The Nexus team consists of Bell, Safran, EPS, Thales, Moog and Garmin, who are collaborating on Bell’s VTOL aircraft and on-demand mobility solutions. Bell is leading the design, development and production of the VTOL systems; Safran is providing the hybrid propulsion and drive systems; EPS is providing the energy storage systems; Thales is providing the Flight Control Computer (FCC) hardware and software; Moog is developing the flight control actuation systems; and Garmin is integrating the avionics and the vehicle management computer (VMC).

Autonomous Pod Transport (APT). Alongside the debut of Bell Nexus, Bell will feature the Autonomous Pod Transport (APT). The APT family varies in payload capability that can serve many mission sets such as medical, law enforcement, offshore missions and on-demand delivery services. Bell is expanding into a new industry to show the full spectrum of our capabilities and the real-world challenges APT will address, Bell said in a press release.

Future Flight Controls. Bell’s Future Flight Controls simulator was a new experience for CES participants this year. Bell is actively collecting data to help shape the future flight controls of aviation. Data from the simulators will be used to determine what actions and interfaces are intuitive to the average potential operator and what prior experiences and abilities contribute to these opinions.

Urban air travel is coming closer to the masses through recent advancements in technology and software. The critical last step is designing a flight-control ecosystem that allows individuals to safely and efficiently operate urban air vehicles.

In 2018, Bell provided the world a glimpse into the air-taxi passenger experience, and this year, attendees could see the full vision.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.