The Next Big Thing for Mercedes-Benz Vans: Drones

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the next big thing for mercedes benz vans drones

Mercedes-Benz plans to spend piles of cash figuring out exciting new business models for its vans segment, and one idea involves invading people’s airspace.

Because most of its van buyers are in the delivery business, the German automaker sees benefits in offering a system where part of a parcel’s journey is accomplished using a drone, Reuters reports.

Volker Mornhinweg, chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Vans, made the high-flying announcement at a German press conference today. The automaker wants to have a hand in all aspects of delivery operations, rather than just providing the vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz also wants to make it easier to get your hands on one of their vans.

“We are moving beyond a business model based on the idea of ownership and are looking at a pay-as-you use systems, which include short-term rental of vans by the hour,” Mornhinweg said.

Just imagine it: a Sprinter, in all its utilitarian splendor…but now with drones.

The unmanned aerial vehicles could carry a package for the last mile of the journey, plopping it in front of your door. Hopefully, there won’t be any peeking through drapes.

Mercedes-Benz claims that experiments with drones and delivery robots will be part of its five-year, $562 million series of pilot projects. If you think they’re bluffing, think again.

“It is definitely coming,” Vornhinweg told reporters.

Already, the automaker has designed a concept vehicle with the help of drone maker Matternet, according to Tech Crunch. The company’s Matternet M2 drones would be able to fly from the vehicle’s rooftop launch pad.

Drones launched from the “Vision Van” would be able to carry 4.4 pounds of cargo a distance of 12 miles on a battery charge. Mercedes-Benz is apparently putting its money where its dreams are, investing an undisclosed amount of cash into the tech startup.

[Image: Peter Linehan/ Flickr]

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  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Sep 08, 2016

    I've got such an urge to grab those skids like handles and see how that thing would do trimming hedges, maybe with just two props so I didn't trim me.

  • 427Cobra 427Cobra on Sep 08, 2016

    why does this remind me of the homing pigeon in Speed Racer's Mach 5???

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Drove a rental Cherokee for several days at the beginning of this year. Since the inventory of rental cars is still low, this was a 2020 model with 48k miles and V6. Ran fine, no gremlins, graphics display was easy to work, plenty of power, & very comfortable. Someone must of disarmed the lane assistance feature for the steering wheel never shook (YES!!!!!!!!). However, this woman's voice kept nagging me about the speed limit (what's new!?!?!?!).I was impressed enough to consider this a prime candidate to replace my 11 yr old Ford Escape. Might get a good deal with the close out of the model. Time will tell. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Bullnuke One wonders if this poor woman entered the US through Roxham Road...
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  • BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
  • VoGhost Another ICEbox? Pass. Where are you going to fill your oil addiction when all the gas stations disappear for lack of demand? I want a pickup that I can actually use for a few decades.