In a bet to delve into the delivery drone market Mercedes-Benz Vans
has unveiled its ‘Vision Van’ in collaboration with drone startup
Matternet. The shake of hands, coupled with a multi-million dollar investment, will see the production of autonomous and unmanned drone dubbed as the Matternet M2 to deliver goods over a short distance. The concept van is aimed at speeding delivery rates and automating cargo management system that also hints at a cost-effective way of delivering goods.
The first project that will imply the integration is called, “Vans and Drones” which will use a mechanism and robotic shelving systems within the van to facilitate item onboarding or pushing the package into the drone via an opening in the roof of the van. The synergy between both could divide tasks in delivering packages. For example, the van—that will act as a launchpad for the drone— manned by a driver, could deliver heavier packages while the light weighted ones can fly from one place to another, clutched by the drone.
Volker Mornhinweg, Head, Mercedes-Benz Vans, commented:
“With our Vision Van, we are going beyond the vehicle. We have been working closely with Matternet to create the world’s first fully connected and automated cargo van with integrated delivery drones. Matternet is a trusted partner, and we are looking forward to what we can accomplish together.”
The Matternet M2 drone can reportedly transport up to two kilograms (4.4 pounds) and travel up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) on a single battery charge. It can apparently drop, reload a payload and switch batteries without human interaction too. Features like a smart payload box that can transmit data about its contents and destination, also looks promising in enhancing the entire process. Landing capabilities and captures proof of delivery with user alerts are also enlisted by the company among other claims.
Andreas Raptopoulos, Co-founder and CEO, Matternet, said:
“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.”
“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,” Raptopoulos added.
Additionally, the drone is equipped with a flight termination system that deploys a parachute automatically if needed, and uses intelligent software to ensure that the vehicle never diverges by more than 5 meters (16.4 feet) from its pre-authorized path. The tech behind it also goes out to combine Matternet’s cloud system for automatic route planning, monitoring and analytics.
If this pans out as the way, the tie-up positions it, the delivery drone solution could prove to be a potential strategy for e-commerce websites like and portals like Amazon
that can leverage the tech to make deliveries easier.