Bell’s self-flying cargo drone completes its first flight

Marco Green
August 30, 2019

Consumers got a glimpse of the future this week when an unmanned delivery drone jointly developed by Yamato Holdings Co. and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of the USA made its first successful flight.

The drones also come as Japan's labor shortages in the transportation sector grow more severe.

Autonomous Pod Transport 70 was tested at Bell's proving ground in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday (Aug 26).

Bell said the aircraft can travel at 160kmh and carry up to 32kg.

APT 70 has a max speed of over 100 miles per hour, and can carry 70 lbs on board, which is good for a fair range of potential applications, including package delivery and even things like humanitarian and rescue missions. It's optimized for rapid deployment, quick reconfiguration and fast battery swap and recharge. Because of the way it flies, switching from vertical to horizontal orientation for its rotors, it can fly much faster than traditional rotor-based aircraft given similar size and power constraints.

"We are excited to reach this milestone, and look forward to continuing to advance this technology for our customers, " Scott Drennan, vice president, Innovation, said in a press release. Bell says it intends to continue testing the APT 70 under an experimental type certificate for the rest of 2019 with the goal of holding a simulated commercial mission demonstration in 2020.

The Autonomous Pod Transport 70 - or APT 70 for short - is 180 centimeters tall. The Bell-Yamato system is already in its demonstration phase and is expected to go commercial in the early 2020s.

The APT 70 is just one of Bell's offerings in the market for electric-powered, vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, better known as eVTOL aircraft.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article