Mercedes-Benz Unveils Futuristic Delivery Vans

By Julian Thumm | 14 Sep 2016

Mercedes-Benz has revealed its latest super-futuristic concept vehicle, the Vision Van — a fully integrated logistics vehicle equipped with drones.

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its vision for the future of last mile delivery — the electric, drone-equipped and fully interconnected Mercedes-Benz Vision Van.

The concept vehicle, which includes two roof-mounted drones, is part of a €500 million investment aimed at revolutionising last mile delivery services.

“With the Vision Van we are presenting the intelligent, clean and fully interconnected van of the future”, says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “The Vision Van integrates many concrete concepts for future delivery operations in the urban environment, such as a fully automatic cargo space, autonomously flying delivery drones and innovative communication features.”

The company’s strategic initiative — known as adVANce — will focus on improving the speed and efficiency of delivery and transport.

The van includes a suite of on-board systems including fully automated cargo space and integrated software systems with algorithms that control the picking, loading of packages, the cargo space management, route planning and the delivery drones.

At the logistics centre, automatic picking systems load the consignments into special racking systems. These racks are automatically loaded into the van via driverless loading vehicles.

van-loading

Upon arrival at a delivery destination, the cargo space management system automatically transfers packages to the driver for manual delivery via a package dispenser.

van

The drones each have a delivery capacity of two kilograms and a range of 10 kilometres, allowing packages to be delivered to hard to reach places. Packages are automatically loaded into the drones via a ceiling hatch.

van-drone

According to Mercedes-Benz, the combination of cloud-based software and optimum hardware yields time and efficiency benefits and raises the quality and flexibility of delivery services.

“With the Vision Van we are integrating the intelligence of a state-of-the-art logistics depot into a van,” Mornhinweg said. “We estimate that this vehicle would enable an increase in productivity of up to 50 percent in last-mile delivery services.”

The fully electric vans are powered by a 75-kilowatt electric drive system with a range of up to 270 kilometres.

Mothership vans 

Dubbed ‘the mothership concept’, Mercedes-Benz is also working with Starship Technologies to develop vans equipped with Starship’s ground-based delivery robots.

From a central location, the vans would act as a distribution point for the robots to make the last mile delivery.

The Robovans house up to eight robots and are equipped with a racking system that enables around 400 deliveries per nine-hour period, compared with an average of 180 deliveries using more traditional methods.

“By leaving the door-to-door part to delivery robots the van drivers’ productivity will significantly rise while reducing congestion on the streets and CO2 emissions,” Allan Martinson, Starship’s COO.

starship-van

 

 

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