Bell flying taxi shows what commuting above the traffic might one day look like

The omnipresence of technology has increasingly attracted unlikely companies to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and this year is no exception. At CES 2018, Texas-based Bell became the first major helicopter manufacturer to exhibit at the trade show. It’s showing off its vision of the on-demand flying taxi the aerospace industry is slowly but surely moving toward.

Referred to as the Bell flying taxi, it takes the form of a streamlined fuselage with a large glass surface and a pair of sliding doors on either side. Outside, it looks a little bit like a helicopter from a science fiction movie. It’s what’s inside that counts, however. The air taxi offers space for four passengers in a futuristic cabin that looks more like what you’d find in a luxury car like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class than a helicopter. The front part of the cabin houses a panel with several touchscreens that display information about the helicopter and its surroundings, as well as entertainment for the passengers.

Reflecting a recent trend, the concept is a cabin only. It’s not designed to fly, so Bell hasn’t provided us with technical details save for the fact that it’s entirely electric. The company told Digital Trends it will release initial specifications as the design study moves closer to production. The presence of a cyclic (the joystick-like device used to control the helicopter) between the front seats indicates it’s not entirely autonomous, however.

“The future of urban air taxi is closer than many people realize. We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide,” Mitch Snyder, Bell’s president and CEO, said during CES. He did not provide a more specific time frame.

Bell flying taxi

Bell and ridesharing giant Uber are working on making flying taxis a reality sooner rather than later. Uber announced its interest in the segment two years ago.

“We have a collaboration with Uber to work together to accelerate large-scale development of vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (VTOL). Bell’s initial focus is on technology development — already underway — and working together to develop the infrastructure,” a spokesperson told Digital Trends. We’re unlikely to see something like the concept displayed in Las Vegas hovering above America’s highways before the turn of the decade.

Airbus, Bell’s aptly named main competitor in the helicopter-building business, is also working on its own VTOL vehicle. It’s a lot less secretive about its program. Essentially a mammoth drone, the CityAirbus prototype relies on electric motors fed by a 140-kWh battery pack.

Emerging Tech

Airbus shows off the futuristic interior of its autonomous flying taxi

Airbus has given us the first look inside its single-seat flying taxi. The absence of controls in the Vahana electric aircraft is a reflection of its autonomous capabilities, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Emerging Tech

Las Vegas officials bet big on Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has just been awarded a $48.6 million contract by Las Vegas to build a high-speed transportation system beneath the city’s enormous convention center, and it could be ready by early 2020.
Computing

AMD's latest Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Home Theater

What is YouTube TV? Here’s everything you should know about the TV service

YouTube TV is becoming an increasingly major competitor to other streaming services. Not sure if the service might be right for you? Don’t worry, we have a guide detailing everything you could want to know about the service.
Cars

Many Uber and Lyft vehicles have open safety recalls, report says

A Consumer Reports survey of roughly 94,000 cars registered with Uber and Lyft in New York City and Seattle found that many had open safety recalls. The rate of open recalls was similar to that of personal cars, however.
Cars

2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport uses cameras to spot off-road obstacles

The 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport gets a host of new tech features, including a camera system that shows what's underneath the car. It also gets a mild-hybrid powertrain to improve gas mileage.
Product Review

The segment-bending 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an SUV in a track suit

For the 2020 model year, Porsche is expanding the third-generation Cayenne lineup with a more stylish Coupe-badged model. It's lower than a regular Cayenne, a little bit wider, and it wears a more muscular design.
Mobile

Lyft’s new safety features include an in-app 911 panic button

In an effort to improve the safety of its ridesharing service, Lyft is rolling out several new safety measures that include an in-app panic button so riders can quickly and easily make an emergency call.
Cars

USPS taps self-driving big rigs to move mail between cities

The United States Postal Service is teaming up with autonomous-truck company TuSimple for a trial using its self-driving big rigs to transport mail between depots in Arizona and Texas.
Cars

Cover your risky riding with Voom’s A.I.-driven insurance for e-rides and drones

Voom wants to protect your assets. An outgrowth of drone insurance provider Skywatch, Voom covers user risks for short-term mobility platforms. Without insurance, an hour riding an e-scooter or piloting a drone could end in financial ruin.
Cars

Weighing the risks: The most dangerous cars, trucks, and SUVs in the U.S.

Larger passenger cars are safer than smaller cars, reports iSeeCars. In its analysis of the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) annual report, the fatal accident rate for passenger cars decreases as their size increases.
Cars

Live out your 007 fantasy with this special edition Aston DBS Superleggera

Aston Martin is releasing a limited-edition DBS Superleggera inspired by the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Superleggera's ancestor was 007's car in that movie.
Cars

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup lets you see through trailers — sort of

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck gets a handful of updates for the new model year, including a transparent trailer camera system and a big boost in maximum towing capacity.
Cars

Insiders claim the Tesla Model S nearly became the long-rumored Apple car

Apple offered to buy Tesla in 2013, according to an analyst who spoke to people familiar with the talks. Apple made Tesla a great offer, but the deal fell through when Elon Musk refused to step away from the company he helped found.