Bell Evaluates Unique APT Configuration in Canada

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.

Bell APT New Configuration.jpg

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.

About Bell

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.

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, Pipistrel, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, and Textron Systems. For more information, visit:

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.

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