Flight-based logistics taken a “big step forward,” says Yamato
An unmanned delivery drone jointly developed by Yamato Holdings Co. and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of the U.S. made its first successful flight in in the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas this week.
Autonomous Pod Transport 70 was tested on Monday. The two companies hope to put the drone into service in Japan by the early 2020s, before taking it global.
During the test, the APT 70 took off vertically and cruised horizontally about 50 metres off the ground for a few minutes before setting down. Bell said the aircraft can travel at 160 kph and carry to 32 kg.
“Our team has created innovative solutions with the potential to change how the market approaches civilian logistics,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO, Bell. “Together, we will continue refining technologies to produce an efficient and agile vehicle that operates safely in the ecosystem.”
“Having the success of the demonstration today, we shall accelerate our technical and service development to enter our innovative service by the early-2020s,” said Yutaka Nagao, Yamato’s President who attended the test.
The test “marked the start of a new logistics business model,” he said.
The drone — with a body by Bell and a cargo pod by Yamato — is 2.7 meters wide, 1.8 meters tall and weighs about 160 kg. It has a range of 56 km and can operate in nearly the same weather conditions as aircraft, the companies said.