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Mercedes-Benz to make drone-equipped electric delivery vans for online orders

Lucas Mearian | Sept. 9, 2016
Drones will be able to reload their own batteries to continue their deliveries

Mercedes-Benz Vans believes the Vision Van could increase delivery efficiency by up to 50% on the last mile.

Mercedes-Benz said more automation in package delivery is necessary to address "rapidly changing customer requirements," that include a burgeoning business in food and everyday necessities ordered online.

"Here, demand for same-day delivery or delivery within an hour is increasing rapidly. At the same time, more and more people are living in cities -- by 2030 urban areas will be home to more than two thirds of the world's population," Mornhinweg said. "It is clear that the rising transportation requirements will need to be met even faster and more efficiently in [the] future and, above all, in an environmentally friendly way."

Mercedes-Benz vision van drone 

The robotic loading system inside the Vision Van's cargo space. The robot grabs the package and loads it into the underbelly of the drone through a door in the van's roof.

As part of its adVANce initiative, Mercedes-Benz Vans said it will be focusing on three fields of innovation: the first involves incorporating the van into the Internet of Things and integrating smart technologies; the second is an automated cargo space loading system for delivery vehicles for parcel services; and the third are new mobility concepts for the on-demand transportation of goods and people.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has created a new organizational unit called Future Transportation Systems, based in Stuttgart, Berlin and Silicon Valley with about 200  employees. Mercedes-Benz vans are currently sold to FedEx Corp., Deutsche Post DHL and Hermes Group in Germany.

The Mercedes-Benz Vans will be offered through leasing, rental and ride-sharing options.

"In [the] future these intelligent mobility concepts could supplement public transit by making fast, efficient and individual transport of passengers possible during peak and off-peak hours via ridesharing concepts," Mornhinweg said. "In the future, the intelligent networking of technologies can also make the transportation of goods more efficient and considerably improve transport on the last mile."Mercedes-Benz Vision VAN from Matternet on Vimeo.

 

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