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Up: Garmin to work with Bell on VTOL aircraft

Dal Kikin
October 5, 2018

The owner of Bell helicopters Textron Inc. has signed an agreement with Garmin to create an autonomous vehicle management computer (VMC) system for Bell’s vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

Bell’s Scott Drennan, vice president of Innovation.

“Garmin has decades of avionics experience and a strong history of collaboration with Bell in bringing vertical lift aircraft to market. Garmin’s innovative systems will provide enhanced safety and situational awareness in all weather conditions.”

“We are honored to team with Bell to provide the autonomous vehicle management computer for the future of urban air travel,” said Carl Wolf, vice president of aviation marketing and sales. “As a demonstrated and trusted innovator in the avionics industry, we look forward to leveraging our decades of experience, our ongoing development of simplified vehicle operations, and expansion into autonomous systems to deliver an innovative solution to this exciting, emerging market.”  

It should be reminded that in early 2018, at CES, held in Las Vegas, Bell announced the development of its own vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft project, which is intended to replace road transport in busy megacities. The option of a flying taxi, presented by Bell Corp. is designed to solve several problems at once, such as: traffic jams and congestion in megacities and the fight against exhaust gases. Today, many aviation enterprises, such as NASA, Airbus, Boeing, Vertical Aerospace and others are developing their own flying car concepts and Textron Inc. does not want to stay away.

As it often happens with conceptual developments, the technical details of BellAirTaxi are hidden. However, the exterior and interior design of the cabin were demonstrated to the public at the beginning of this year: the futuristic design of the four-seater BellAirTaxi's cabin is a beautiful, streamlined capsule. Inside, the cabin is not much different from the modern car. The cab presented at CES does not yet have any engine or chassis, however, according to the statements of the helicopter corporation, the company is currently working on the creation of a rotary engine with an electric transmission, controlled by autonomous vehicle management computer (VMC) systems.