During CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Bell revealed the latest version of its Nexus VTOL aircraft, which is being developed as the preferred platform for the Uber Elevate Air taxi program.
The Nexus may look like a large drone, but it’s a lot more, it’s a 6500-pound aircraft, it has six articulated 8-foot articulated fans, which allow the platform to rise from the ground vertically as a traditional helicopter before turning 90 degrees, allowing for a faster air travel as an airplane.
Best of all, the Nexus fits a standard landing platform of 40 feet by 40 feet, meaning cities will not have to radically change the existing infrastructure. It also uses a hybrid electric power system, it should be able to fly in a more silent and efficient way than conventional helicopters.
The company has also been building helicopters since World War II and developed the V-22 Osprey, another tilt rotor steering wheel, along with Boeing. Bell took many of the lessons learned from creating the Osprey and applied them to the Nexus, including a cable flight system that will ensure that the aircraft remains in a safe flight envelope. Bell is working with several other companies in the Nexus, including Safran, EPS, Thales, Moog and Garmin, each of which is building individual subsystems.
The company expects to commence flight testing of the aircraft for 2023 and commence business operations shortly thereafter. Because Bell is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Lone Star state residents will be among the first to have access before the program is extends.