On December 11, the Bell Innovation flight test team at our Mirabel, Quebec facility conducted the first flight of an alternate configuration of the Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) in collaboration with ARA Robotics. This platform operates with the same architecture and propulsion system of our renowned tail-sitter aircraft but utilizes a different airframe. The purpose of the project was to explore variations in the design and evaluate changes in performance, autonomy and user interactions.
This technology demonstrator is co-funded by the Canadian Technology Demonstration Program (TDP). The TDP allows Bell to test new technologies that promote advances in autonomy and electric propulsion. Through close partnerships with Small and Medium Enterprises, Canadian academic and government organizations, Bell leverages valued expertise and resources to bring innovation to Canada and deliver advanced solutions to the world.
“We are excited to demonstrate this configuration to show our potential customers how flexible, scalable, and customizable this aircraft can be,” said Michel Dion, senior manager, Innovation.
This configuration evaluated alternative design features like:
· Fixed central pod that favors containerized payloads
· Side access to payload bays
· Swept wings
· Articulated V-Tails
To date, the APT program has completed hundreds of test flights and several demonstrations to potential commercial and military customers to display its capabilities which can fulfill a wide variety of unmanned logistics missions. The team continues to mature these technologies in preparation for initial aircraft production.
Thinking above and beyond is what we do. For more than 85 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 a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. Today, we’re defining the future of advanced air 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.
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Bell joins a consortium leading the project “Aircraft for the digital and green mobility of tomorrow."