Bell announced that in mid-January of this year it completed the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights of its Autonomous Pod Transport 70. The drone held a flight path 10 miles at the Choctaw Nation test site under the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP).
The Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 also completed an 18-mile flight with 60 lbs of payload at Bell’s testing site near Fort Worth, Texas.
“Our partnership with Choctaw under the UASIPP has allowed us to push the boundaries on our eVTOL technology,” said John Wittmaak, program manager, UAS, Bell. “By unlocking new performance capabilities, APT 70 will provide unparalleled mission sets for our customers.”
To date, the APT 70 flight test program has completed over 120 flights. Back in August 2019, Bell completed the successful first autonomous flight of it’s the APT 70.
APT 70 is part of the eVTOL family of vehicles Bell is developing and can reach speeds of more than 100 mph. It has a baseline payload capability of 70 pounds. Bell explains its APT systems are designed to allow for flexible mission capabilities while keeping operations simple, efficient and fast.
Bell states its APT vehicles are capable of twice the speed and range of a conventional multirotor drones, while also being designed for rapid deployment, quick reconfiguration, and nimble battery swap and recharge.