Bell is to collaborate with Japanese package-delivery company Yamato on aerial logistics using unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The companies expect to introduce their first product in the mid-2020s.

Tokyo-based Yamato already is testing an autonomous ground-delivery service using self-driving vehicles. The goal of the new collaboration is to combine Bell’s unmanned aircraft with automated package handling systems developed by Yamato to create an autonomous on-demand logistics service.

The initial demonstrations will use Bell’s Autonomous Pod Transport (APT), a tailsitter eVTOL, with a customized detachable cargo pod developed by Yamato. The multirotor APT takes off and lands like a helicopter and transitions to wingborne horizontal flight for greater speed and range.

APT is one of a series of new VTOL designs under development at Bell. The tailsitter can exceed 100 mph and variants could carry 15-1,000-lb. payloads. Bell is also testing the Hydra hybrid propulsion demonstrator, as well as the four-seat Air Taxi eVTOL.