Mercedes-Benz Vans, US drone systems developer Matternet and Swiss online marketplace siroop have started a pilot project in Zurich to test an efficient van and drone-based system for on-demand delivery of e-commerce goods.
The pilot project, which started with first trials on September 25, represents a significant milestone for autonomous aerial systems: it is the first time that extensive beyond-line-of sight drone operations with the use of vans as landing platforms are taking place in a major urban area to test a fully-automated e-commerce drone network. The development of the overall system uses an iterative approach and is based on early testing and continuous optimization.
During the course of the three-week pilot project, customers will be able to order selected products from online marketplace siroop that are suitable for transport by a Matternet drone, such as consumer electronics and other e-commerce items weighing up to two kilograms. Delivery will be made on the same day. The drones are loaded directly at the merchant and fly to one of two Mercedes-Benz Vito vans equipped with a precision landing technology.
The van stops at one of four pre-defined points, called “rendezvous points”, within the city of Zurich, where the van driver takes possession of the product and delivers it to the customer, while the drone returns to the retailer. The entire logistics chain from order receipt to delivery to the customer will be timed and compared against conventional delivery methods to gain insights into the efficiency of the solution.
Source – https://www.uasvision.com/2017/11/07/vans-drones-in-zurich-mercedes-benz-matternet-and-siroop-start-pilot-delivery-project/