Mercedes-Benz recently concluded a three-week test program in Zurich, Switzerland, that used drones and Mercedes Benz vans to make on-demand deliveries, calling the pilot a success according to a recent Bloomberg report.
The program was conducted with U.S. drone developer Matternet and a Swiss online marketplace called Siroop. Customers who ordered certain items from a local coffee roasting company were given the option to use same-day delivery by drone. Mercedes-Benz says it made 100 deliveries to 50 customers with a 100% success rate, delivering packages as far as 11 miles.
The drones delivered the packages, not directly to the consumer, but to Mercedes-Benz vans at four pre-determined locations around the city. The packages were then taken a short distance by van to each address. The Vans and Drones program is aimed at speeding up delivery times by bypassing traffic in densely populated areas. The goal is to eventually sync up the drones and van fleet so that they will not have to travel to pre-determined rendezvous points and can meet the vans while they are already on a regular route.
More tests of the Vans and Drones program are planned for next year.