Bell Nexus Full-Scale Air Taxi Design Debuts, Taps Novel VTOL, Hybrid Propulsion, Energy Storage, and Avionics Technologies

Bell, Safran, EPS, Thales, Moog, and Garmin collaborate to deliver on-demand mobility solutions harnessing novel VTOL systems, hybrid propulsion and drive systems, energy storage, flight control hardware and software, avionics, and vehicle management computers.

Mobility engineers and executives at Bell Helicopter , a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, in Fort Worth, Texas, are developing new concepts of mobility to make moving people and products more efficient and effective – and launching urban air mobility  (UAM ) innovations, including the Bell Nexus air taxi design, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES ) in Las Vegas this week. They envision and are helping to enable a fleet of on-demand, quiet vertical-takeoff-and-landing  (VTOL ) aircraft capable of safely whisking passengers over traffic and across urban landscapes by the mid-2020s.

“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 President and CEO Mitch Snyder explains. “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 building this infrastructure, will lead to the successful deployment of the Bell Nexus to the world.”

Officials are introducing at CES the Bell Nexus full-scale VTOL air taxi vehicle, which is powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system and employs Bell’s powered lift concept with six tilting ducted fans. The Bell Nexus name reflects the nexus of transport and technology and of comfort and convenience, while also capturing 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, officials say.

“While there are challenges that face on-demand mobility, there are also great opportunities,” Bell officials say. “The concept of UAM is a new challenge for aerospace designers in the sense that the operator and avionics suite is no longer well-defined.”

Images courtesy Bell Helicopter.

Bell, Safran, EPS, Thales, Moog, and Garmin constitute Team Nexus and collaborate on Bell’s 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).

Courtney E. Howard  is editorial director and content strategist at SAE International. Contact her by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..