With this agreement, jointly and collectively, JAL, Sumitomo and Bell will explore business opportunities for the air mobility services: deploying Bell’s eVTOL in Japan and Asia.
DRONELIFE had the opportunity to see and to interview a spokeman at Bell Textron last month in Las Vegas – see that article here.
Bell’s Vice President of Innovation, Scott Drennan, told DRONELIFE: “We are excited to take this substantial step to bring together an international airline, a major infrastructure provider, and a VTOL OEM to work collaboratively on a more connected mobility future. While we are known for our 80 years of creating vertical lift aircraft that move people, goods, and data; we also want to help shape the operational infrastructure in which they will live.”
Pictured is a Bell Textron eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) prototype, a relatively small aircraft (the one that we sat in had space to up to 5 people) that can take off and land vertically by rotating multiple rotors with an electric motor.
This vehicle and other similar prototypes are attracting attention as a means of next-generation urban transportation that combines drone and electric vehicle technologies as cities struggle to provide solutions for increasing congestion over and above more traditional methods such as cars, buses, or light rail.
Summarized from their press release:
Sumitomo is a century-old global enterprise based in Japan. The company has a broad business portfolio, which includes metal products, transportation & construction systems, infrastructure, media & digital, living related & real estate, and mineral resources, energy, and chemicals to support the development of the necessary infrastructure and business use cases for air mobility. “We have been inspired by Bell’s vision and their capability of penetrating into this urban air mobility market,” said Eiji Ishida, Sumitomo’s Executive Officer of Lease, Ship & Aerospace Business Division. “All three companies bring a unique perspective, and we are excited to work together toward this new future.”
The third partner, Japan Airlines (JAL) is a global international airline. Tomohiro Nishihata, Japan Airlines’ Managing Executive Officer of Innovation said that “Japan Airlines is eager to explore the future of air travel beyond its existing framework, and we believe this is the right team to set the standard in Japan for future cities to implement urban air mobility systems.”