Jan 092018

Bell Helicopter has just released their concept for the cabin of an “air taxi.” From the looks of it, it is a sci-fi vehicle on par with the flying cars from “Blade Runner,” seemingly relying on anti-grav units for lift and magic for forward propulsion. However, I suspect the idea is that this is just a people-pod that would be either integrated into or picked up by a VTOL aircraft of some kind, probably a supersized quad-, hex- or octo-copter, like a giant Toys R Us drone. Oddly enough, the report makes no mention of that part of it whatsoever. It seems an odd oversight. But then the more dedicated webpage on the concept also seems to leave out that kinda important bit as well, so I guess Bell is sitting on it for the moment.

Bell Helicopter Makes Debut as First Major Helicopter Manufacturer to Exhibit at CES


 Posted by at 5:48 pm
  • Adam

    A news article covering this Air Taxi concept states that Bell Helicopter is deliberately obfuscating the propulsion system and powertrain in order to keep that part of the configuration secret for the time being. They’re just showcasing the user interface of this type of transportation system.

  • Michel Van

    I guess Bell is building this as traditional helicopter
    and only present there innovating cockpit and seat lay out at CES

    what make me wonder on promo video …were is the pilot ?
    is “Air Taxi” a automotive aircraft ?

  • Paul451

    Oddly enough, the report makes no mention of that part of it whatsoever.

    It does have social media connectivity, though!

    I agree with Michael, the shape suggests it’s just a cabin mock-up of a conventional helicopter with normal rotor & tail, not a demountable pod for a quadcopter carrier. Likewise, the seemingly “optional” pilot controls suggests automation, but the fact that they don’t explicitly mention it makes me think even that is misleading.

    Hence. Boring old luxury helicopter.



    Replaces the cabin of this:


    (Maybe with a shrouded tail to make the tail friendlier for rich dumb people. Or NOTOR, Bell’s recent concept helicopters have all had ducted tails.)

    • publiusr

      I don’t think this is a cabin–but a pod—that is under an electric drone version of the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane.

      The drone drops the pod that travels along the ground, is picked up and dropped off, with a much lighter drone flying farther–recharged as it picks up another amazon pod–that sort of thing.

      My .02 cents.

  • se jones

    (sorry) This is only loosely related ’cause it involves vertical flight crafts, but it’s pretty damn cool so I had to share.

    I can imagine two potential military apps for things like this;
    1. a quick field deployable big phased array radar
    2. a quick virtual flying “fence” to block or damage larger a/c.

    In a very few years, every city worth its salt will have one of these drone displays to supplement 4th of July fireworks.


    • sferrin

      That display should scare the shit out of the DoD, more than a new nuclear weapon.

      • se jones

        Yes, but the DoD is already all over this as well. Last year they took 60 Minutes TV crew out to China Lake for a demo. You can probably see that on the CBS site.


  • Bob

    When I was at Cessna the marketing people had Interiors prototype things like this to pitch to customers. It’s hard to say what the final vehicle will look like.

  • philo_t

    Maybe some sort of mutlirotor modular skycrane setup? Wow, real Jetsons time stuff.

    meh, who am I kidding, that would presuppose some power source way better than batteries to have something like that continuously orbiting the city center to shuttle pods to the airport. Unless you do some lighter-than-air behemoth.