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Mercedes-Benz drone pilot could cut delivery times

Mercedes-Benz Vans is working with US drone systems developer Matternet and Swiss online marketplace siroop to team up vans and drones for a new concept that could revolutionise deliveries.

Matternet drone on top of Mercedes-Benz delivery van
The Matternet drones can carry items weighing up to 2kg to the Mercedes-Benz last-mile delivery vans.

Currently on trial in Zurich, the three-week pilot enables customers to order selected products from siroop for delivery by a Matternet drone on the same day. The drones are loaded directly at the merchant and fly to one of two Mercedes-Benz Vito vans equipped with drone landing technology and waiting at pre-defined ‘rendezvous’ points. The van driver then delivers the order to the customer, while the drone returns to the retailer.

The project is expected to bring reduced overall delivery times – which are being benchmarked against conventional delivery methods – as well as reduced cost compared to existing courier service operations.

Andreas Raptopoulos, founder and CEO of Matternet, said: “We believe that drone-enabled logistics networks will transform how we access goods every day — we will be able to order something online, and like magic, receive it within minutes, for a fraction of the cost and energy expended today.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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