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Bell Flies Cargo Drone for NASA’s Commercial UAS Demo Program

APT 70 Demo
APT 70 Demo

An unmanned aircraft system developed by Textron's Bell subsidiary for cargo delivery has flown beyond visual line of sight in an urban area as part of a NASA project to showcase commercial UAS missions with industry partners.

The Autonomous Pod Transport 70 vehicle executed a vertical takeoff from Bell's Floyd Carson airfield in Fort Worth, Texas and completed a 10-mile circuit flight along Texas' Trinity River during the Systems Integration and Operationalization demo activity, Textron said Wednesday.

APT 70 flew at an altitude of 500 feet as the team employed a redundant data link to maintain communications between the ground station and the UAS.

A group of observers and a prototype airborne detect-and-avoid technology provided air traffic awareness and flight maneuver recommendations to the remote pilot.

The vehicle is equipped with an Xwing-built DAA system comprised of radars, an onboard processor, a visual platform and an automatic dependent surveillance broadcast technology.

The unmanned aircraft also features an integrated display the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere developed to provide operators weather alerts and risk awareness information.

Bell envisions APT 70 transporting up to 70 pounds of payload such as critical medical supplies, Textron noted.

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Written by Matthew Nelson

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