Matternet, the CA based developer of autonomous drone logistics systems, has partnered with Mercedes-Benz Vans to collaborate on an “integrated delivery solution” that will combine the Matternet drone with a Mercedez-Benz van.
Mercedes-Benz Vans has made a “multimillion dollar investment” in the drone company, allowing them to be at the forefront of addressing the complex problem of last mile delivery. The partners say that the new concept technology, which involves Matternet’s 2nd generation drone, the Matternet M2, landing on specially designed Mercedes vans, will “transform how people receive lightweight goods on demand.” Matternet has also unveiled its second-generation drone, Matternet M2.
Drone delivery has been hotly pursued by consumer goods companies including Amazon, Google, and Walmart because of the significant savings in efficiency and cost that drone delivery offers. The Matternet and Mercedes-Benz Vans solution involves the Mercedes “Vision Van,” which demonstrates a new end-to-end platform for last-mile delivery. The system features a docking technology integrated into the roof of the van, which allows the drone to land and exchange payload and battery. “Matternet’s cloud technology is integrated with Mercedes-Benz’s van routing software, allowing end-to-end control of the supply chain,” says a Matternet press statement. The first project is demonstrated in “Vans and Drones” (see video here).
“In Mercedes-Benz Vans, we found a partner that is not only synonymous with quality, safety, reliability and efficiency, but is also willing to imagine and create the future of transportation with us,” said Andreas Raptopoulos, co-founder and CEO of Matternet. “We are driven by a common vision to automate last-mile logistics, which today is the least efficient and most expensive part of logistics. Through this partnership, we are building solutions that will dramatically reduce the time and cost of on-demand delivery.”
“With our Vision Van, we are going beyond the vehicle,” said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We have been working closely with Matternet to create the world’s first fully connected and automated cargo van with integrated delivery drones. Matternet is a trusted partner, and we are looking forward to what we can accomplish together.”
Matternet’s M2 drone is completely autonomous. “It can transport up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) and travel up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) on a single battery charge,” says the company. “It can drop and reload a payload and battery without human interaction, and features a smart payload box that can transmit data about its contents and destination. It also has precision landing capabilities and captures proof of delivery.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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