Bell Helicopter and Garmin International will work together to develop autonomous systems for Bell’s hybrid-electric VTOL Air Taxiprototype, the companies said in a news release on Tuesday. “At Bell, we believe a convergence of technological advancements is enabling the industry to drive solutions that will bring viable urban air transportation to our everyday lives in a way that is safe, quiet, convenient and affordable,” said Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice president of innovation. “This collaboration with Garmin brings us even closer to achieving our goal … we believe the future is real, possible, and very close to becoming a reality.”
The companies said Bell will lead the design, development and production of systems for the aircraft. Garmin will lead the design, development and production of the avionics hardware and software. As previously announced, Safran will provide the hybrid propulsion system. Bell has shown a cabin mock-up of its four-seat air taxi concept, which was introduced last year at Uber Elevate. The company says they expect to begin flight trials in the mid-2020s.