In a global first, online orders were delivered in Zurich between 25 September and 13 October with the aid of Vans & Drones. In partnership with Matternet and siroop.ch, Mercedes-Benz carried out a unique pilot project to test on-demand delivery of e-commerce orders – and it was a resounding success, particularly as unlike comparable systems this trial of a van and drone solution was carried out over an urban area and over a period of three weeks. On 28 September, after the initial successful trials, a large group of journalists was invited to watch live as the first official drone landing on the specially equipped Mercedes-Benz Vito took place during a press presentation.
On 10 days, a total of around 100 flights were made without incident over the city of Zurich. The project made use of two drones and two Mercedes-Benz Vito vans with integrated landing platforms. Technology installed in the vehicle roofs ensured that landings were accurate and safe.
The main objective for the project team was to test the processes and procedures required to operate a delivery system of this kind and to learn from practical experience. “We are extremely satisfied with the results of the pilot project in Switzerland. The aim was to test the technology and the concept in real-world conditions and find out where optimisation was required. We also wanted to know how people would react to this new form of transportation,” said Stefan Maurer, Head of Future Transportation at Mercedes-Benz Vans.
The results of the trials are currently being analysed in depth. “We are convinced that the project will evolve rapidly. We see great potential for our solution and intend to expand it to include further areas of application,” Maurer added.