Bell Autonomous Pod Transport 70 Achieves First Autonomous Flight

Fort Worth, TX (August 26, 2019) – Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today the successful first autonomous flight of the Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 at their testing site near Fort Worth. Bell plans to  continue to test the vehicle under an experimental type certificate throughout the remainder of the year.

 

“We are excited to reach this milestone, and look forward to continuing to advance this technology for our customers,” said Scott Drennan, vice president, Innovation. “The APT is designed to be capable of various mission sets, from package delivery to critical medical transport to disaster relief. We believe this capability will change the way unmanned aerial systems are used commercially in the future.”

 

APT 70 is part of the eVTOL family of vehicles Bell is developing and can reach speeds of more than 100mph and has a baseline payload capability of 70 lbs. Bell’s APT systems allow for flexible mission capabilities while keeping operations simple, efficient and fast; they are capable of twice the speed and range of a conventional multirotor. The vehicle is designed for rapid deployment, quick reconfiguration, and nimble battery swap and recharge.

 

Through the NASA Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) demonstration activity, Bell will use the APT 70 to demonstrate a simulated commercial mission in the national airspace system and conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight operations. The demonstration is expected to be held in mid-2020.

 

Bell is also in collaboration with Yamato, a Japanese third-party logistics provider, to integrate Yamato’s package handling system into APT 70 providing an exceptional customer experience for on-demand logistics services. The Bell and Yamato team conducted a demonstration today showcasing their systems working together in preparation for entry into service anticipated by the early-2020s.

 

About Bell

Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 80 years, we’ve been reimagining the experience of flight – and where it can take us.

We are pioneers. We were the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. We were aboard NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of on-demand mobility.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas – as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., – we have strategic locations around the globe. And with nearly one quarter of our workforce having served, helping our military achieve their missions is a passion of ours.

Above all, our breakthrough innovations deliver exceptional experiences to our customers. Efficiently. Reliably. And always, with safety at the forefront.

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com.

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellations or deferrals of orders; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; volatility in interest rates or foreign exchange rates; and risks related to our international business, including establishing and maintaining facilities in locations around the world and relying on joint venture partners, subcontractors, suppliers, representatives, consultants and other business partners in connection with international business, including in emerging market countries.