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Check out Bell’s flying taxi concept before its Smithsonian debut

Check out Bell’s flying taxi concept before its Smithsonian debut

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Check out Bell’s flying taxi concept before its Smithsonian debut

Not quite ready to fly.

We might not have flying cars overhead (yet), but the concept for one will be on public view later this year.

The Bell Nexus autonomous air taxi will be displayed at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building in Washington, D.C., starting this November.

The five-seater concept aircraft is a eVTOL, an industry acronym that means “electric vertical take-off and landing,” although “electric” may be a slight stretch, since, like many eVTOLs, this one has a hybrid gas-electric propulsion system. In any case, you’ll be able to get a 360-degree view of this futuristic flying taxi at the Smithsonian’s “Futures” exhibit from November through July of 2022. The concept involves a self-flying control system from Garmin that doesn’t need a pilot onboard.

An eVTOL takes elements from helicopters, planes, and hybrid cars. The propulsion system uses six electric propellers, made by aerospace company Safran, that tilt once the eVTOL is airborne. There are batteries, along with a gas-powered turbine that powers an onboard generator. So the propellers do run on electricity, but it’s gas-generated — something like a Toyota Prius.

The Nexus is only a concept, conceived to inspire possible future commuter plans. Uber was working with Bell at one point on an idea for a flying taxi anyone could summon through the Uber app. It would fly at low altitudes of up to 2,000 feet, offering short-haul flights. There were plans for skyports in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Melbourne, Australia.

The Nexus was first displayed at the CES electronics showcase in 2019, providing a glimpse at a possible configuration for an Uber air taxi. In 2020 Uber sold its flying car division to Joby Aviation, but says it plans to partner with them sometime in the future to provide eventual flying Ubers.

It’ll still be a few years until Joby, or any company, takes to the skies in an eVTOL with passengers onboard.

For now we can just gawk at the intimidating craft from ground level.

Flying above cities.

Flying above cities.
Credit: BELL TEXTRON INC.

Take in the concept craft from all angles.

Frontside viewing.

Frontside viewing.
Credit: BELL TEXTRON INC.

Here’s the Nexus from the side.

Side-eye the eVTOL.

Side-eye the eVTOL.
Credit: BELL TEXTRON INC.

And from behind. At the Smithsonian exhibit you’ll be able to see all angles of the Nexus.

A look from behind.

A look from behind.
Credit: BELL TEXTRON INC.

A look at the five seats inside the craft. While a pilot can control the eVTOL, it’s also capable of autonomous flight.

An inside look at the five seats inside the craft.

An inside look at the five seats inside the craft.
Credit: BELL TEXTRON INC.

Wheels up. Here’s the eVTOL in motion with its rotors spinning.

Wheels up.

Wheels up.
Credit: BELL TEXTRON INC.