At this week’s Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2019 show in Las Vegas, Bell is showing a full-scale version of its new Nexus air taxi concept – which has the potential to accelerate the development of urban air mobility (UAM) programmes around the world.
The Nexus is powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system and features Bell’s signature powered lift concept incorporating six tilting ducted fans. It is also being designed to allow non-professional pilots to manage the flight of the aircraft.
It is another sign that mainstream airframe and systems manufacturers – with decades of experience in developing and certifying platforms and equipment – now see the electric air taxi market as a serious sector for investment.
Team Nexus, consisting of Bell, Safran, EPS, Thales, Moog and Garmin, are collaborating on Bell’s vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft and on-demand mobility solutions. Bell will lead the design, development and production of the VTOL systems. Safran will provide the hybrid propulsion and drive systems, EPS will provide the energy storage systems, Thales will provide the Flight Control Computer (FCC) hardware and software, Moog will develop the flight control actuation systems and Garmin will integrate the avionics and the vehicle management computer (VMC).
“Urban air travel is coming closer to the masses through recent advancements in technology and software,” says Bell. “The critical last step is designing a flight control ecosystem that allows individuals to safely and efficiently operate urban air vehicles.”