Bell Helicopter has signed a teaming agreement with Garmin International on the development and integration of the autonomous vehicle management computer systems to support its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
Vice president of innovation Scott Drennan says: “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. This collaboration with Garmin brings us even closer to achieving our goal. There is still work to be done to operationalise on-demand mobility in the vertical dimension, but we believe the future is real, possible and very close to becoming a reality.”
Garmin has a history of collaboration with Bell in bringing vertical lift aircraft to market. Its systems will provide enhanced safety and situational awareness in all weather conditions.
“We are honoured to team with Bell to provide the autonomous vehicle management computer for the future of urban air travel,” adds Garmin VP of aviation marketing and sales Carl Wolf. “As a demonstrated and trusted innovator in the avionics industry we look forward to leveraging our decades of experience, our ongoing development of simplified vehicle operations and expansion into autonomous systems to deliver an innovative solution to this exciting, emerging market.”
In terms of design development and production, Bell will lead on VTOL systems while Garmin focuses on the avionics hardware and software needed for ODM vehicle management, including primary flight information, navigation/communication, flight guidance and flight management systems. Safran will provide the hybrid propulsion system.