MENLO PARK, CA: September 08, 2016. Mercedes-Benz has announced a "multi-million dollar investment" in Matternet, the developer of autonomous drone systems, to create an integrated delivery solution for small packages.
Mercedes-Benz Vans has built a 'Vision Van' concept vehicle incorporating an automated cargo management system and Matternet delivery drones.
Matternet has developed the technology that is integrated into the roof of the van and also launched an autonomous 'M2' drone to carry up to two kilos 20 kilometers miles on a single battery charge.
"With our Vision Van (right), we are going beyond the vehicle," said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "We have been working closely with Matternet to create the world's first fully connected and automated cargo van with integrated delivery drones."
Certified by NASA and the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, the system uses intelligent software to ensure the drone never deviates more than five meters from its pre-authorized flight path that is generated using terrain, airspace and population-density models to plan the safest routes.
"In Mercedes-Benz Vans, we found a partner that is also willing to imagine and create the future of transportation with us," said Andreas Raptopoulos, co-founder and CEO of Matternet. "We are driven by a common vision to automate last-mile logistics, which today is the least efficient and most expensive part of logistics."
The electric-powered van features an automated cargo space, integrated drones for air deliveries and a range of up to 270 kms. "With the Vision Van we are integrating the intelligence of a state-of-the-art logistics depot into a van", explained Mornhinweg. "We estimate that this vehicle would enable an increase in productivity of up to 50 percent in last-mile delivery services."