Many innovative companies have a strong presence in Fort Worth, helping the city build on its foundations in the aerospace, energy, and mobility. Likewise, several local anchors are driving ground-breaking advancements in their own industries.
Aerospace & Defense
• Bell Textron is one of the cornerstones of Fort Worth’s aerospace sector for more than 70 years. Renowned for their helicopters, Bell is also making significant strides in vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which can depart, hover and land vertically without need of a runway, and be used in applications like air taxis.
• Elbit Systems of America is a leading source of technology-based systems for diverse defense and commercial applications.
• Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth has been manufacturing machines that push the limits of aviation innovation since World War II. Today, the Air Force Plant 4 assembly line produces the F-35 Lightning II, the most advanced fighter jet on the planet. But the company also puts a strong priority on embracing the industrial “internet of things”, by using interconnected smart tools, networked supply chains, and integrated networks that can analyze production performance and monitor quality.
• Linear Labs is a sustainable electrification systems manufacturer and one of Fort Worth’s home-grown, venture-backed companies driving innovation of “Energy 2.0” technologies. Linear Labs develops fully modular electric motors and generators that produce greater torque at low speed thanks to their patented Hunstable Electric Turbine (HET).
• MP Materials is completing construction on their rare earth magnetics factory – the first of its kind in the United States – to restore the production of rare earth alloys and magnets to the domestic supply chain.
• Schumacher Electric is headquartered in Fort Worth, and this global leader of automotive aftermarket power conversion products is now located not far from DFW Airport, in a state-of-the-art distribution facility with foreign-trade zone status.
• Sinclair Digital is the company behind the Sinclair, Autograph Collection hotel in Downtown Fort Worth. The smart hotel is the first of its kind, using power over Ethernet technology to make it one of the most energy-efficient, green-friendly properties in the world.
• American Airlines, headquartered in Fort Worth, is one of the most distinguished international airlines in the world. Flights reach approximately 350 travel destinations across more than 50 countries, and the company has one of the largest commercial fleets in the world. The company is also embracing the future of mobility, investing in a green hydrogen distribution and logistics network for aviation (Universal Hydrogen) and committing to the purchase of Boom supersonic overture aircraft. Their presence also helped attract the OneWorld Alliance global headquarters.
• BNSF is one of the United States’ major railway services. Headquartered in Fort Worth, their rail network covers 32,500 route miles in 28 states. They are also making significant advancements when it comes to moving products safely and efficiently on significantly less fuel than an all-highway alternative – a BNSF train can haul 1 ton of freight almost 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel.
• Clevon was the first robot courier in Europe to offer autonomous delivery services on public roads. They have expanded into North America to offer on-demand, same-day or next-day deliveries of goods and services, and have recently opened their Center of Excellence and U.S. headquarters in Fort Worth.
• Wabtec is a leading provider of equipment, systems, digital solutions, and value-added services for freight and transit rail sectors. At their Fort Worth plant, Wabtec builds mining components, such as mining wheels for heavy-haul mining trucks which have set the standard for reliable, fuel-efficient performance in the industry.
Anchors & Innovators
• Alcon is a global leader in eye care, setting industry standards in R&D, surgical and vision care. The company is headquartered in Fort Worth.
• AllianceTexas, developed by Hillwood, is a 27,000-acre, master-planned development in Fort Worth encompassing industrial, logistics, aviation, corporate office, retail, multifamily housing and more. Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport, the cornerstone of the development, is the world’s first industrial airport and the foundation for one of the nation’s largest inland ports. Today, AllianceTexas is home to Fort Worth’s Mobility Innovation Zone with other 500 companies, convening global innovators to further scale and commercialize new technology in surface and air mobility.
• The Fort Worth Medical District is home to Tarrant County’s major hospitals and dozens of independent medical clinics. It will also be the location of TCU’s 100,000-square foot Burnett School of Medicine, expected to complete construction in 2024.
Fort Worth’s Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ)
Fort Worth’s Mobility Innovation Zone (MIZ) is a groundbreaking destination for next-level thinkers from around the world. It is home to an unparalleled ecosystem with the resources and partnerships to comprehensively scale and commercialize new technologies in surface and air mobility.
In addition to being a regional air hub for companies like Amazon and FedEx, other areas of focus for the MIZ are autonomous trucking operations and the unmanned aerial system proving grounds at the AllianceTexas Flight Test Center.
All roads lead to Fort Worth
Fort Worth’s Mobility Innovation Zone is driving a set of autonomous vehicle (AV) freight use cases – from drayage to short-haul and long-haul to last-mile. The vision is to develop an end-to-end autonomous process to move freight from Fort Worth to wherever in the country – or across the world – that it needs to go.
Commercial AV technology will transform freight transportation, driving cost savings and operational efficiency across the supply chain. Several notable partner companies are at the MIZ include:
• ITS ConGlobal and Phantom Auto: This strategic partnership delivers remote trucking operations for forklifts, yard trucks, and more at AllianceTexas.
• TuSimple: This long-haul autonomous leader recently opened their Fort Worth terminal, expanding their national autonomous freight network. TuSimple’s 1-million-square-foot facility includes launch pads and landing pads for trucks that use TuSimple’s Autonomous Driving System.
• Gatik: This company’s hub at the MIZ is working to deploy Class 6 autonomous trucks – which carry smaller loads compared to the Class 8 semi-trucks – to fill the critical middle-mile delivery and operations gap in Texas.
• Einride: This company’s pod delivery is beginning their research and development phase for autonomous delivery in Fort Worth.
• Clevon: This last-mile autonomous innovator recently opened their Center of Excellence and U.S. headquarters at the MIZ.
Where ideas take flight
As the technological advancement of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) outpaces regulation, the establishment of a UAS Proving Grounds in Fort Worth’s MIZ is vital for commercialization.
At the AllianceTexas Flight Test Center, private and public stakeholders are accelerating the development and commercialization of UAS technologies and solutions. But these tests also inform the regulatory framework still being developed around this emerging technology, particularly in the suburban and urban settings in and around Greater Fort Worth.
Partner organizations include:
• Wing: This leader in drone delivery service and subsidiary of Alphabet conducted its flight testing and aircraft certification at the Alliance Flight Test Center, leading to the first drone delivery service deployment in a major U.S. metro.
• Bell: Bell, a Textron company, conducted North Texas’ first point-to-point unmanned aerial system package delivery demonstration, making the 4.5-mile flight from the MIZ to Hillwood’s newest residential community, Pecan Square.
• NASA: In partnership with Bell, NASA recently conducted a Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) demonstration in congested airspace, with the intent of testing ground-based surveillance systems that could one day serve as a radar system for drones and eVTOL aircraft.