As part of the VFS Electric VTOL Symposium, Bell Executive Vice President Michael Thacker announced that the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 — capable of transporting up to 70 lb (32 kg) — had flown in January. This follows prior flight testing of the APT 20 (shown), which can carry up to 20 lb (9 kg) loads.
Last year, Bell said it was “selected for the NASA Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) project. Using the APT 70 model, we will demonstrate an end-to-end commercial mission in the National Airspace System advancing the technologies required for autonomy beyond visual line of sight flight operations over people in urban environments through uncontrolled and controlled airspace” in 2020. Bell is partnered with NASA, XWing, University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), and Textron Systems.