Garmin Takes On Autonomous Computer System for Bell Project

Bell and Garmin will work together on systems for VTOL concept.

Garmin is teaming up with Bell to develop flight management systems for the new VTOL concept.Bell

Garmin International is continuing to expand its scope, teaming up with Textron’s Bell Helicopter to develop and integrate the autonomous vehicle management computer (VMC) systems needed for Bell’s recently announced, yet-to-be named VTOL aircraft.

In this partnership, Bell will be responsible for making the VTOL fly while the GPS and avionics systems giant will create the avionics hardware and software required for on-demand mobility (ODM). This will include primary flight information, navigation, communication, flight guidance and flight management systems. Garmin's new systems will be designed to provide enhanced safety and situational awareness during day and night, and in a variety of weather conditions.

“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,” said Garmin’s vice president of aviation marketing and sales, Carl Wolf.

Bell previously signed a partnership deal with French engine manufacturer Safran, which will design a hybrid electric powerplant for the VTOL. "There is still work to be done to operationalized on-demand mobility (ODM) in the vertical dimension, but we believe the future is real, possible, and very close to becoming a reality," said Bell's vice president of innovation, Scott Drennan.