Bell Helicopter To Unveil Urban Air Taxi at CES 2018

 - January 8, 2018, 7:01 PM

Bell Helicopter will unveil its design for an urban air-taxi design tomorrow at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The four-passenger design will offer full connectivity, including video conferencing capability.

“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,” said Bell CEO Mitch Snyder. “While we are laser-focused on the passenger experience and eager to share with the public, Bell continues to develop our air-taxi design to provide safe, reliable transportation services to the world.”

augmented reality
Attendees can use augmented reality to see operation in various scenarios. (Photo: Barry Ambrose)

This week during CES 2018, attendees can experience an augmented reality simulator, inside the air-taxi cabin, designed to portray a variety of flight scenarios, including cross-city day and night trips. Last year, global ride-sharing service Uber and Bell announced plans to partner and accelerate the eventual large-scale deployment of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

seat-back monitors
Seat-back monitors give passengers in the rear row a look ahead. (Photo: Barry Ambrose)

Last year, Scott Drennan, Bell’s director of engineering innovation, said his company’s design would be robust enough to fly 2,000 hours per year; be “modular, adaptable, and scalable”; be able to use a variety of powerplants; have both civil passenger and military logistics applications; and likely be certified under the FAA’s new powered-lift category developed for tiltrotors. Uber believes urban air taxis can be operated for a cost near $1.32 per mile, about one-third of the price of operating a turbine helicopter.