Caffeinated drones on trial
Mercedes-Benz Vans is allying with the drone logistics outfit Matternet and Swiss e-commerce start-up siroop to pilot drone delivery services in Zurich. The partners see combined drone and van offerings as a solution for logistics in dense urban environments.
The three-week initiative will see mini copters taking bags of ground coffee from retailer Black & Blaze Coffee Roasting’s base some 6kms to fixed locations in Zurich. The drones will land on the roofs of Mercedes-Benz Vito vans which will deal with the last mile to customers.
The Vans & Drones service was unveiled Mercedes-Benz Vans und Matternet September last year and the Zurich beta is seen as the next stage of concept development.
“We have the incredible opportunity to do the most comprehensive test of drone technology in an urban environment to date,” says Stefan Maurer, head of future transport at Mercedes-Benz Vans unit. “To validate our concept at this early stage with customers and project partners will help push forward the development of the technology.”
Andreas Raptopoulos, CEO of Matternet, says the pilot will provide insights into consumer acceptance of drone-based services ‘and pave the way for nationwide expansion’.
Icelandic online retailer AHA claimed a world-first for its commercial drone-based delivery service in August. The 6.5 pound craft began with an initial 20 supply runs per day. Chris Anderson has pointed out that drone economics are highly disruptive, with the airborne technology able to accomplish in hours tasks that take people days.
Image: Mercedes-Benz Vans