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Unmanned Systems & Drones

Drones land on Mercedes' roofs

German automotive group puts deliveries of the future to the test: In a pilot project in Zurich, small parcels are being delivered to customers by a combination of delivery vehicle and drone.

09 Oct. 2017

Mercedes presented its van with drone pad concept back in 2016. The project has now reached the pilot phase, but has undergone a change. The original plan was that the drones would launch from the vehicle roof and deliver parcels to customers; a process also tested by the likes of logistics provider UPS. With Mercedes’ revised concept, however, the drones will now fly parcels from the merchant to a van, and the driver will then deliver them to customers.

The pilot project, "Vans & Drones" , has been running in Zurich since the end of September. The city has four pre-defined stopping points at which a Mercedes-Benz Vito van equipped with a landing platform awaits deliveries. Project partner siroop, a Swiss online store, delivers selected goods weighing a maximum of 2 kg to these rendezvous points using M2 drones from US manufacturer Matternet , which land on the roof of the vans and fly back again once they’ve delivered the goods. The plan for the future is to set up a dynamic system with no fixed locations, by means of which vehicles will be supplied by a drone at suitable stopping points along their route.