Car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has taken to the skies to enable an on-demand delivery service with a van and drone combination operation.
In a global first, as part of a partnership with Matternet and Siroop.ch, Mercedes-Benz carried out a pilot project to test on-demand delivery of e-commerce purchases.
Online orders were delivered via vans and unmanned aerial vehicles between 25 September and 13 October in Zurich.
Over the course of 10 test days, a total of approximately 100 flights were made without incident over the city of Zurich.
The project made use of two drones and two Mercedes-Benz Vito vans with integrated landing platforms. Technology installed in the vehicle roofs ensured that landings were accurate and safe.
The main objective for the project team was to test the processes and procedures required to operate a delivery system of this kind and to learn from practical experience.
“We are extremely satisfied with the results of the pilot project in Switzerland. The aim was to test the technology and the concept in real-world conditions and find out where optimisation was required. We also wanted to know how people would react to this new form of transportation,” said Stefan Maurer, head of future transportation at Mercedes-Benz Vans.
“We are convinced that the project will evolve rapidly. We see great potential for our solution and intend to expand it to include further areas of application,” Maurer added.
On September 28, after the initial successful trials, a group of reporters were invited to watch live as the first official drone landing on the specially equipped Mercedes-Benz Vito took place during a press presentation.