Drones are only now starting to pique public interest, but the commercial sector has been looking to use these machines for some time now. Amazon, for one, is putting drones in place in many cities to provide same-day deliveries for many items available locally.
But while drone delivery is not quite yet a reality, Matternet and Mercedes-Benz have teamed up to test a new idea in delivery options: a combination of drones and luxury vehicles known as the the Mercedes Vision Van.
The Mercedes Vision van features an automated cargo space with drones that can fly away from the van to make autonomous deliveries. The van is also an electric vehicle with a range of 618 miles and will allow for a human driver to drive as well, and also deliver packages by hand and the use of two drones.
“With our Vision Van, we are going beyond the vehicle,” said Volker Mornhinweg, the head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, in a recent statement. “We have been working closely to Matternet to create the world’s first fully connected and automated cargo van with integrated delivery drones.” He explains that this project integrates various concrete concepts in future delivery operations within an urban setting. This could include things like autonomous flying, automatic cargo space, and more innovative communication technology.
“The Vision Van integrates many concrete concepts for future delivery operations in the urban environment, such as a fully automatic cargo space, autonomously flying delivery drones and innovative communication features.”
In this project, the Matternet drones, will use “technology that is integrated into the roof of the van, allowing for precision landing and automatic payload and battery exchange.”
Matternet co-founder and CEO Andreas Raptopoulos, adds: “In Mercedes-Benz Vans, we found a partner that is not only synonymous with quality, safety, reliability and efficiency, but is also willing to imagine and create the future of transportation with us.”
He goes on to say, “We are driven by a common vision to automate last-mile logistics, which today is the least efficient and most expensive part of logistics. Through this partnership, we are building solutions that will dramatically reduce the time and cost of on-demand delivery.”
Mornhinweg also comments that the goal for the Vision Van is to present an “intelligent, clean, and fully interconnected van of the future.”
I guess time will have to tell on this one.