The companies collaborated with the Federal Aviation Administration, BNSF Railway and the TRTC
FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 1, 2021) - Hillwood and Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, demonstrated a point-to-point unmanned aircraft system (UAS) package delivery in North Texas at the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone. The Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) flew across the Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ), and delivered a package to a landing area, demonstrating its future commercial capabilities.
Unlike anywhere else in the nation, the MIZ provides the scale, infrastructure and perfect backdrop for the commercialization of budding technologies in air mobility. Launching from the MIZ Flight Test Center, flying in complex airspace and landing in Pecan Square, Hillwood Communities’ tech-forward, master-planned community in Northlake, Texas, the APT, which is designed to be capable of various missions from package delivery to critical medical transport and disaster relief, flew a preprogrammed four-mile route through the MIZ.
“This successful test of Bell’s APT at the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone highlights the potential for UAS to complete complex missions, moving the needle closer to connecting logistics operations directly to consumers,” said Ross Perot, Jr., chairman of Hillwood. “Together, we are carving a path forward for future commercial operations to solve the supply chain challenges our world currently faces.”
Taking off on its voyage, the APT initiated a vertical takeoff, and then rotated to fly on its wing, becoming nearly silent to the ground below. The APT reached a maximum altitude of 300 feet above ground level. Its route included flying near I-35W and miles of unpopulated fields as the aircraft transitioned in and out of Class D and Class G airspace, demonstrating the types of airspace the APT could encounter during a commercial flight and the unique diversity of airspace within the MIZ.
“Bell is proud to play a role in the first North Texas UAS package delivery, and this demonstration showcases the future application of the APT 70 as a logistics carrier,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO of Bell. “Testing at the MIZ showcases how Bell's autonomous vehicles could seamlessly integrate into logistics operations and unlock new opportunities for businesses.”
The APT is the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) family of vehicles Bell is developing and can reach speeds of more than 100 miles per hour and has a baseline payload capability of 70 pounds, recently demonstrating carrying payloads over 100 pounds. Bell’s APT systems allow for flexible mission capabilities while keeping operations simple, efficient and fast. It is capable of twice the speed and range of a conventional multirotor, and the vehicle is designed for rapid deployment, quick reconfiguration, and nimble battery swap and recharge.
Data collected during the demonstration will be used to support future standards development and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification guidelines.
Bell and Hillwood have joined forces with the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition (TRTC), a public-private partnership focused on advancing mobility innovation within the western portion of North Texas, to create a regional ecosystem supported by leaders in government and the private sector. Several of the region’s mayors and civic officials were on-hand for the APT flight.
“Our region is uniquely positioned to support companies engaged in the commercialization of new technologies in air mobility,” said Jeff Williams, mayor of Arlington, Texas and chairman of the TRTC. “We’re proud to support Bell and Hillwood in launching North Texas’ first point-to-point package delivery at the MIZ and look forward to their continued leadership in making our region an epicenter for mobility innovation.”
About the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone
The AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) is a unique landscape built on collaboration and opportunity. That combination works to connect people, places and ideas that push innovation in surface and air mobility forward. By leveraging its one-of-a-kind infrastructure, the MIZ offers mobility visionaries full access to an unparalleled ecosystem, resources and partnerships essential to comprehensively test, scale, and commercialize the latest technologies. AllianceTexas itself is an unparalleled 27,000-acre regional success story and has transformed the North Texas economy by connecting it to global industry. Hillwood’s AllianceTexas development is anchored by the world’s first dedicated industrial airport, Fort Worth Alliance Airport, and hosts one of the nation’s premier intermodal hubs. AllianceTexas is also home to more than 525 companies which have built more than 50 million square feet and created over 62,000 jobs. For more information, please visit https://www.alliancetexasmiz.com/ and https://www.alliancetexas.com.
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 a part of 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 Inc.
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