Bell Nexus

Overview

For eight decades, Bell has made its name know by building vertical-lift aircraft that saves lives. Now, Bell is using CES to help reinvent itself as a technology company redefining flight. After two years exhibiting at CES, the exposure to potential customers and new partners keeps them coming back.

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global media hits from CES

Bell is transforming from a helicopter and tilt rotor company to a technology company that provides vertical lift solutions to the world, and exhibiting at CES was a perfect match.

"CES is the heart of technology around the world,” says Scott Drennan, vice president of innovation at Bell. “Everyone is here displaying their tech, so we wanted to do the same.”

At CES 2019, Bell unveiled Bell Nexus, which is at the heart of their on-demand mobility philosophy and will take on the air taxi mission, as well as logistics for businesses. To serve the unmanned logistics market, Bell’s Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) vehicle was also on display.

“Our exhibit is an evolution of what we did at CES 2018, where we just showed everyone the cockpit of the Bell Nexus and had a virtual experience that gave you the sense of what it would be like to take an air vehicle,” Drennan says. “We came back to show people how it flies.”

We keep coming back to CES because there are new customers here.

Scott Drennan, VP of Innovation
Bell

Also, during CES 2019, Bell took advantage of the technically-savvy attendees to conduct a portion of its future flight control study, which is helping define what noncommercial pilots need to operate a vehicle.

The study will inform the design of the Bell Nexus control system, which aims to reduce the training burden for the general population to operate the aircraft in the same safe and efficient manner as a commercial pilot.

“I think what you’re going to see at future CES events,” says Dr. Jim Gibson, experimental test pilot at Bell, “is how we’re using flight control laws behind the scenes, and even some artificial intelligence and advanced queuing, to help pilots digest the information that inundates them in an aerospace environment.”

Bell’s solutions have traditionally been a VIP-type business, but the potential of Bell Nexus to be an air taxi and unmanned logistics solution broadens their customer base, and they come to CES to meet new customers.

“We keep coming back to CES because there are new customers here,” Drennan says.

Bell also benefitted from the CES environment that promotes serendipitous connections with potential partners and unexpected insights into the innovations in complimentary technology.

“We’ve had wonderful interface with companies like Microsoft and Intel and Denso,” Drennan says. “To talk to folks like that about how we can open up a new dimension in vertical flight is really thrilling.”

Bell Nexus is helping get everyone into the vertical dimension.

“We’re looking forward to creating momentum with the people we meet here and opening up the market for Nexus,” Drennan says.

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