Uber is working with a number of companies on its future air taxi service and Bell was an early partner. The company showed off the cabin of its air taxi at CES last year, and this year, it’s debuting a scale model of the vehicle now dubbed the Bell Nexus. Bell Nexus is a five-person hybrid-electric powered vehicle with six tilting ducted fans.
The 2,720 Kg Nexus comes equipped with a 240-Km range, a top speed of 240 kmph, expansive windows which will bedazzle passengers, an augmented-reality-enhanced flight experience, and most importantly a grounding in reality that will likely prove to be the envy of all air taxi startups.
Image Source: Engadget
“As space at the ground level becomes limited, we must solve transportation challenges in the vertical dimension — and that’s where Bell’s on-demand mobility vision takes hold,” Bell CEO Mitch Snyder said in a statement. “The industry has anticipated the reveal of our air taxi for some time, so Bell is very proud of this moment. We believe the design, taken with our strategic approach to build this infrastructure, will lead to the successful deployment of the Bell Nexus to the world.”
Bell’s real advantage is the experience. Bell is the company behind the V-22 Osprey & V-280 Valor tiltrotors and well with decades of military & civilian helicopters, they surely know their way around the design and manufacturing of vertical-lift aircraft.
In May, Uber showed off one of its air taxi prototypes at its Uber Elevate Summit, and it has said it aims to have aircraft available for commercial operations by 2023. CNBC says Uber called Bell’s design a “major step” in its effort to develop “an on-demand Uber Air network.”