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    Bell Helicopter offers a sneak peek of its first electric flying taxi

    Helicopters aren’t typically found among the gadget and car insanity at CES, but Bell Helicopter doesn’t want to be seen as your typical purveyor of vertical flight. The company made the trek from its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, to Sin City this week to show off its latest futuristic concept: an electric flying taxi.
    Well, it didn’t bring the entire aircraft, mind you. Bell just brought the cabin, in an effort to highlight the passenger experience. It plans to unveil the entire vehicle, complete with rotors and powertrain, at a later date. “We’re just keeping our particular propulsion system in configuration to ourselves right now, to keep our competition on their on their heels,” said Scott Drennen, Bell’s director of innovation.
    Drennan is coming to CES with an arsenal of buzzwords at his disposal to woo the gathered techies — and hopefully do a little recruiting for Bell while he’s at it. “This vehicle is going to be a part of the Internet of Things,” he told The Verge. “The customer will be experiencing a part of the Internet of Things as they travel in the vehicle, with the connectivity that’s going to happen from the place they took off from to the place they’re going, with the ability to connect to friends, workers, colleagues, et cetera.”
    The strategy was to build an interior cabin space that acclimates the passenger to the unique qualities of vertical flight. Bell calls it a “comforting, relaxing space.” If passengers don’t feel comfortable riding in an electric-powered air taxi (essentially a cross between a helicopter and a drone), then the idea of a brand-new, mass transportation service will never take off. Today, people who use helicopters for point-to-point travel are almost exclusively pretty wealthy. Bell says it wants its electric air taxis to be accessible to everyone else.

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