Bell Textron is bringing its vision of the smart city of the future, complete with a flying air taxi and an autonomous pod transportation system that will move people, cargo and information, to CES 2020, which will be held Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas.
The air taxi, called Nexus 4EX, is an experimental aircraft that is a powered-lift concept with four tilting ducted fans that can be configured as hybrid-electric or all-electric. Bell said the design is the key for all electric technology that will remain propulsion agnostic, depending on customer needs.
The company’s mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) plans will look beyond aircraft that is powered by Bell AerOS, a system that uses Microsoft Azure to manage fleet information, observe aircraft health and manage throughputs of goods, products and predictive data and maintenance.
This infrastructure is the basis for the smart city vision for solving connected mobility issues for the masses, Bell Textron said. This is based on the expectation that 70% of the world's population will be living in urban areas by 2050 and cities are already outgrowing current transportation systems.
“The vision for the Bell Nexus remains the same, but by taking a mature system level approach to design for an objective market vehicle, we believe this configuration unlocks a capable, certifiable and commercially viable product,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell Textron.