Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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38 April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside SPECIAL REPORT NASA TECHNOLOGY Rather than focusing on a completely electric solution, Bell Helicopter is developing a hybrid system, Director of Innovation Scott Drennan said. The company will move toward a com- pletely electric battery once energy densities be- come more viable. With the hybrid propulsion system, the aircraft will be able to carry four or five passengers and travel longer distances than if it were fully electrically powered, though Drennan isn't saying exactly how far yet. The company also isn't revealing the system's configuration, Drennan said, because for now they want to focus on introducing customers to this new experience. Bell is exhibiting at large technology shows, such as CES and SXSW, where they're providing consumers with a vir- tual reality experience of what rides will be like in the Bell systems. Bell is one of five air taxi developers work- ing with Uber Elevate, which was launched to help develop an ecosystem for UAM, said Tom Prevot, director of airspace systems for Uber Elevate. Aurora Flight Sciences, Pipistrel Aircraft, Embraer and Mooney are the others. At first, three to four passengers will have the ability to travel 25 to 60 miles, which is where he sees the limits will be based on battery capacity. Photos courtesy NASA. NASA and others are working to develop UAM, a system that will enable multiple air taxis to safely transport people as well as cargo throughout large cities.

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