Mercedes begins drone delivery pilot in Zurich


The future is here! Well, sort of…

Mercedes-Benz have started trialling a drone delivery concept. The German car-maker’s van division has teamed up with drone logistics provider Matternet for the pilot, being conducted on the streets of Zurich. The project was unveiled to the media late September, coffee being delivered as a demonstration.

The technology behind the ordering process is relatively straight-forward, operating in much the same way as current third party delivery services. The merchant employee enters the order details and passes it on to Matternet, who in turn programmes the drone with its pick-up or drop-off location. The drone is then loaded aboard a van and driven to the destination where the product is loaded by the employee (this will be done by robots in future).

The drone reads the exact delivery information from the QR code on the package, so it knows exactly where to deliver its load. It will then fly to the recipient, with a top speed of around 43mph and at a range of over 12 miles. It can carry a payload of around 4.4 lbs.

During the recent demonstration in Zurich, the drone flew to a height of around 260 ft in the air, the altitude drones are designated for. Guided by GPS, it remained at this height for the duration of the flight, then descended to land on the roof of a specialist Mercedes-Benz truck where it was guided in by a radio signal that replaces the GPS.

Watch the clip of the drone delivery at the link below.

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