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Mercedes-Benz plans to make drone-equipped electric delivery vans

ABR Staff Writer Published 09 September 2016

Mercedes-Benz is planning to make electric vans with automated drones as part of a €500m, five-year investment intended at accelerating delivery times for online product orders.

The company unveiled new strategic future initiative adVANce and Vision Van to extend its growth strategy and develop new business models.

The electric van will have a maximum range of about 270km and says that the van will offer integrated and intelligent systems which can make the transportation of goods and passengers more efficient and open up new business opportunities and economic benefits for customers.

The German luxury car maker has developed adVANce not only as a concept or vision but as an initiative van study which will provide integrated solutions for new customer requirements.

At Van Innovation Campus in Stuttgart Mercedes-Benz Vans Head Volker Mornhinweg said: "In the first six months of this year, we brought in the best results yet for Mercedes-Benz Vans. This provides us with an excellent foundation to position our vans division systematically for the future."

Daimler said delivery in urban and sub-urban environments has been increasing rapidly. Delivery in food industry, especially delivery within one hour has been gaining popularity in urban environments and this has been increasing demand for rapid transportation. It stresses that these requirements are to be met by faster and more efficiently in the future.

According to the company, the electric van has integrated delivery drones which can be used for parcel delivery. For example, if an autonomous delivery van enters into a residential area where some goods need to be delivered. Instead of reaching to each house and delivering the items, all those items can be delivered to the respective homes using the drones.

Daimler further says that this type of integrated technology can make deliveries easier and reduces the time.

Volker Mornhinweg said: "With the Vision Van from Mercedes-Benz Vans we provide an idea of future generations of vans: the intelligent automation technology connects the entire process, from loading and transportation by road through to delivery to the consignee.

“This makes it easier for the deliverer to do business and rapidly reduces the delivery time for end customers."

Mercedes-Benz Vans will focus on three main areas of innovation which include connectivity through internet of things, integrating vans with automated cargo space systems for delivery vehicles that can pack items more efficiently for faster delivery and on new mobility concepts such as on-demand transportation of goods and people.

Image: Daimler unveils adVANce, a new electric van concept for the future. Photo: Courtesy of Daimler AG.