Bell Helicopter, announced on October 3rd, a signed teaming agreement with Garmin International, Inc. on the development and integration of the autonomous vehicle management computer (VMC) systems to support Bell’s vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. “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,” said Bell’s Scott Drennan, vice president of Innovation. “This collaboration with Garmin brings us even closer to achieving our goal. There is still work to be done to operationalize on-demand mobility (ODM) in the vertical dimension, but we believe the future is real, possible, and very close to becoming a reality.” Garmin has decades of avionics experience and a strong history of collaboration with Bell in bringing vertical lift aircraft to market. Garmin’s innovative systems will provide enhanced safety and situational awareness in all weather conditions. “We are honored to team with Bell to provide the autonomous vehicle management computer for the future of urban air travel,” said Carl Wolf, vice president of aviation marketing and sales. “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 this collaboration, Bell will lead the design, development and production of VTOL systems. Garmin will lead the design, development and production of the avionics hardware and software needed for ODM vehicle management, including primary flight information, navigation/communication, flight guidance and flight management systems. As previously announced, Safran will provide the hybrid propulsion system for Bell’s VTOL aircraft.
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