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All-electric "Vision Van" for innovative delivery

09 September 2016

Mercedes-Benz Vans presents all-electric vehicle that digitally connects people, has an automated cargo space and integrated delivery drones.

Mercedes-Benz Vision Van (Credit: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

This all-electric vehicle combines various innovative solutions for last-mile delivery in urban and suburban environments. It is the first van worldwide to fully digitally connect all people and processes involved, from the distribution centre to the consignee. Furthermore, it is the first van to feature a fully automated cargo space and integrated delivery drones. For example, if a parcel service provider stops his vehicle in a residential area, it will be possible to deliver multiple packages to nearby consignees autonomously by air – even if they are not at home – in addition to manual delivery. This makes the deliverer’s job easier, reduces the delivery time and offers end customers new opportunities such as same-day delivery at an agreed time. Mercedes-Benz Vans envisages deployment of the Vision Van boosting efficiency by up to 50 percent on the last mile. The vehicle is equipped with a 75kW electric drive and – depending on the intended application – has a range of 80km to approximately 270km. With the Vision Van, deliveries are emission-free.

"With the Vision Van from Mercedes-Benz Vans we provide an idea of future generations of vans: the intelligent automation technology connects the entire process, from loading and transportation by road through to delivery to the consignee. This makes it easier for the deliverer to do business and rapidly reduces the delivery time for end customers," said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

"Equipped with an electric drive system, the Vision Van not only operates locally emission-free, it also moves almost silently. This means that it can be operated in cities even during times when there are traffic restrictions or for late-night deliveries in residential areas. This gives our customers the possibility of offering new services to their customers."

Focusing on three key fields of innovation: adVANce

As part of the strategic future initiative, Mercedes-Benz Vans will be focusing on three fields of innovation: the first involves incorporating the van into the Internet of Things. For this purpose, Mercedes-Benz Vans is integrating smart technologies into the van, which increase its efficiency and make it a central component of the digital value chain. The focus here is on relevant applications and connectivity solutions. One example is developing a telematics unit for vans which collects and processes data concerning the status of the delivery tour, the present location and the load, and sends this information to the distribution manager. In this way it is possible to monitor and manage last-minute changes within the fleet efficiently from a central point.

Another application concentrates on the efficient part and tool management for service vehicles, for example tradespersons' mobile workshops. In future new holistic system solutions will enable parts to be ordered in a fully automated way by means of an intelligent inventory management within the vehicle, as well as for the relevant parts to be placed overnight directly into the van. Intermediate steps such as inventory evaluation, ordering parts manually and the tradesperson having to equip the vehicle are no longer necessary.

Mercedes-Benz Vision Van (Credit: Mercedes-Benz Vans)

The second focal point is on innovative hardware-based solutions for the transportation industry. Here Mercedes-Benz Vans is working on automated cargo space systems for delivery vehicles for parcel services, for example. Until now, deliverers need to rearrange their packages (on average around 180 per load) ten times while making deliveries within a residential area and schedule approximately three to four minutes per stop. New, interconnected cargo space systems make loading and unloading much faster, thereby increasing process efficiency. One-shot loading (loading the vehicle with all pre-picked parcels in one go) cuts loading times considerably and reduces the amount of vehicle downtime at distribution centres. When the deliverer is unloading, the system will show him the exact load configuration and make the right package available at the right time for delivery depending on the delivery destination. The team at Mercedes-Benz Vans also has the integration of autonomous delivery systems such as drones or self-driving robots in mind.

The third field of interest for the Stuttgart-based van manufacturer in conjunction with various cooperation partners is new mobility concepts for the on-demand transportation of goods and people. In future these intelligent mobility concepts could supplement public transit by making fast, efficient and individual transport of passengers possible during peak and off-peak hours via ridesharing concepts. In the future, the intelligent networking of technologies can also make the transportation of goods more efficient and considerably improve transport on the last mile. In this pioneering field Mercedes-Benz Vans is also working on innovative leasing, rental and sharing models, which are completely tailored to the needs of van customers.

120 years - Mercedes-Benz history

The "Vision Van" is one in a long line of innovations. Mercedes-Benz has put together a timeline of its high-quality commercial vehicles.

Click here to see the innovations timeline.


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