It is like a scene out of a sci-fi movie: air taxis zooming around the city, landing on heli-ports and transporting passengers to and from their daily activities. It sounds pretty futuristic, right? Well, it may not be as farfetched as you may think.
Bell Helicopters is showcasing their new urban air taxi design at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. The Bell Aircraft Corporation is a U.S. aircraft manufacturer that’s well known for developing and manufacturing several important military and civilian helicopters, including Bell X-1, the first supersonic aircraft.
Expounding upon Bell’s long history of successful innovation, Chief Executive Officer Mitch Snyder says, “The future of urban air taxi is closer than many people realize. We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide.” Snyder says Bell has an ongoing R&D program that will eventually provide options for “safe, reliable transportation services to the world.”
At CES 2018, convention goers get to see what it’s like to be inside an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL) through the use of augmented reality. Simulations portray cross-city day and night trips.
Inside the cabin, passengers can use embedded technology to catch up on the news, share documents or take conference calls. Meantime, a monitor display gives passengers in the back seats a view of what’s on the road (or in the air) ahead.
eVTOLs will have both civil and military applications, according to Scott Drennan, Bell’s Director of Engineering Innovation. Air taxis are expected to be licensed under the FAA’s new powered-lift category developed for tiltrotors.
Bell is partnering with Uber to accelerate development of these futuristic aircraft. But, for this week at least, the future is now at CES in Las Vegas.