Bell, one of Uber’s flying taxi partners, revealed the design of its vertical takeoff and landing air taxi at CES, a five-person hybrid-electric powered vehicle with six tilting ducted fans. The company showed off the cabin of its air taxi at CES last year, and this year, it’s debuting a scale model of the vehicle now dubbed the Bell Nexus.
“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 CEO Mitch Snyder said in a statement. “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 build this infrastructure, will lead to the successful deployment of the Bell Nexus to the world.”
Uber is working with a number of companies on its future air taxi service, and Bell was an early partner. In May, Uber showed off one of its air taxi prototypes at its Uber Elevate Summit, and it has said it aims to have aircrafts available for commercial operations by 2023. CNBC says Uber called Bell’s design a “major step” in its effort to develop “an on-demand Uber Air network.”
In line with Uber’s plans, Bell’s director of innovation, Scott Drennan, told The Verge that the company intends to have Nexus in operation by the “mid 2020s.” “This is not a toy. This is an aircraft you would feel safe and comfortable bringing your family into,” he said. The Verge also reports that Bell won’t have a working prototype until closer to its official launch.