The Mercedes-Benz Vision Van. Intelligent delivery vehicle of the future

The Vision Van is the world’s first van at the center of a completely digitally networked supply chain, from the goods distribution center to the recipient. It demonstrates how goods will be delivered in the future — with an electric powertrain that has a fully automatic cargo space and two integrated autonomously flying transport drones.

Thanks to an electric powertrain producing an output of 75 kW and a range of up to 270 km, parcels can be delivered locally emission-free and in virtual silence. This makes the Vision Van the perfect delivery vehicle on the last mile, especially in cities.

Algorithms control the order picking and loading of the packages, the fully automated cargo space management system, as well as the route planning for the vehicle and the delivery drones. They also calculate optimal delivery routes for the parcel carrier. For example, shipments are automatically picked and loaded into special rack systems at the logistics center. Driverless transport vehicles load these racks into the van. At the unloading point, the intelligent cargo space management system automatically dispenses packages to the parcel carrier for manual delivery. At the same time, the system provisions two drones, each with a payload of two kilograms, with shipments that they are able to deliver autonomously within a radius of ten kilometers.

When the vehicle talks with the driver

During the tour, the driver is provided all the information needed for doing his job. This is ensured by a dashboard that spans the entire front. In operation, a speedometer as well as information about the planned route or the drone flights are displayed, for example.

The vehicle also communicates with the parcel carrier via the floor of the cab. LED displays in the stainless-steel floor signal to the driver whether pedestrians or bicycle riders are approaching, for example. The parcel dispenser is located in the rear wall of the cab as is an info terminal, which serves as the means of communication between the autonomously operating system world of the Vision Van and the driver. As a result, the driver can fully focus on the manual delivery.

And there is another obvious advantage: The parcel carrier saves time loading and delivering the parcels! While the manual loading process takes up to an hour and a half, the one-shot loading process takes just five minutes or so. And the delivery time on the last mile is shortened by up to 50 percent due to the automation technology in the cargo space and the drones that are delivering goods at the same time as the parcel carrier.

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