Textron's Bell subsidiary has signed a cooperative agreement with NASA to design, build and integrate an unmanned aircraft system for the agency’s planned 2020 flight demonstration effort in national airspace.
Bell will lead a team composed of Textron Systems, Xwing and the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere to demonstrate potential commercial missions of the Autonomous Pod Transport 70 platform, Textron said Thursday.
The consortium aims to explore commercial transport requirements across law enforcement and parapublic, medical and offshore operations through NASA's Systems Integration and Operationalization program.
Under the agreement, Textron Systems will provide a command-and-control technology for integration into Bell’s APT70 vehicle while Xwing will supply the detect-and-avoid technology and CASA will develop a weather avoidance system.
APT70 will have an electric vertical takeoff-and-landing configuration intended to aid aircraft translation and rotation movements.
The vehicle is designed to travel at a speed of more than 100 miles per hour and carry a payload of at least 70 pounds, Bell noted.