Japanese company wants to fight “driver shortage” with flying trucks

This week, a Japanese company announced that it is partnering with an American helicopter manufacturer to develop a driverless “flying truck” designed to help combat perceived labor shortages in the trucking industry. On Friday, October 12, Yamato Holdings Co. and Bell Helicopter announced that they are collaborating to develop an unmanned cargo airplane set to be put into regular service by the mid 2020’s. According to a press release from Bell Helicopter, Bell will be in charge of designing the aircraft while Yamato Holdings will focus on the development of the cargo container.

Bell says that the “flying truck” will be able to reach speeds of 100 m.p.h. and that it will be capable of handling load between 15 and 1000 pounds. The aircraft will be designed to take off and land vertically. The companies say that they’ll produce the first prototype in August 2019. Developers say that the “flying trucks” will increase efficiency because they won’t require drivers (who are subject to hours of service regulations), they can move faster than traditional trucks, and they won’t have to deal with traffic.

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