Mercedes Introduces Drone-Powered On-Demand Mobility Services
With growing environmental concerns at the forefront of their minds, many drivers are looking to car- and ride-sharing as the way of the future. Now, Mercedes-Benz Vans is testing new technology which will make ride-sharing even easier, using state of the art science that wasn’t possible in previous years. They’re using an on-demand mobility service that’s powered by drones to connect customers with merchants, potentially reducing the number of delivery vans on the road at any given time to reduce accidents, traffic, and pollution.
Where Mercedes Is Testing Drone Tech
Mercedes is currently testing the drone technology in consumer trials in Zurich, Switzerland. These tests, which began in September, allow customers to order small packages from retailers that weigh less than 4.4 pounds. Upon ordering, drones are loaded at merchant headquarters, then depart to locate the Mercedes Vans at one of four loading points located around the city. This allows drivers to reduce the number of stops and for customers to receive their packages sooner. Mercedes is also testing self-driving technology with these vans in the hopes of reducing both costs and accidents.
Future Plans of The Technology
Moving forward, Mercedes plans to implement dynamic routing technology to make the process even more streamlined. In the future, rather than stopping at loading points along their route to receive orders from merchants, the drones will deliver the packages directly to the Mercedes Vans. This dynamic integration along conventional delivery routes will allow for even faster delivery of goods to consumers.
The move toward automated package delivery is not limited to Mercedes and Zurich. Retailers have been testing deliveries performed by autonomous robots in London since July. The Starship robot delivers goods, including groceries and packages, from retailers directly to consumers. The price of operating these robots is significantly less than employing human delivery people, though retailers do need to consider installing entry points (similar to doggy doors) for the autonomous robots in the entrances of their stores. Starship soon plans to expand to Germany and Switzerland, with further expansion slated in the United States for next year.