If you reside in Metro Manila, your image of a delivery van likely involves the following adjectives: clunky, rusty, gas-guzzling and most certainly late. Well, a German vehicle manufacturer wants to change that image for tomorrow's generation. Say hello to the Mercedes-Benz Vision Van, a concept delivery van that looks more modern and interesting than your daily-driver.
This van is fully electric, powered by a 75kW electric drive system said to have a traveling range of up to 270km. Not bad, especially if the goal is just to distribute merchandise in an urban area. But the green propulsion is not the real story here. This Vision Van is special because it touts the kind of digital interconnectivity that promises to eliminate tardiness and inefficiency from the business of delivering goods.
How does this van hope to accomplish this? Here's Mercedes-Benz's explanation, in italics:
The Vision Van merges numerous innovative technologies, and serves as the central, intelligent element in a fully connected delivery chain. Innovative algorithms control order-picking, the loading of packages, the fully automated cargo space management, route planning for the vehicle, and the delivery drones. They also calculate ideal delivery routes for the package deliverer. Automatic order-picking takes place at the logistics center, for example, and consignments are loaded into special racking systems. Driverless handling vehicles load the racks by way of an automated one-shot loading process. The intelligent cargo space management system automatically transfers packages for manual delivery to the deliverer at the delivery destination by means of a package dispenser on-board the vehicle. The combination of a cloud-based control software and optimum hardware yields substantial time and efficiency benefits, and raises the quality and flexibility of delivery services in the urban environment to a new level. The delivery time per package and the vehicle's curbside time are markedly reduced, for example. The vehicle also opens up new options for same-day and time-definite delivery. Convenience for the end customer is thus enhanced, and failed delivery attempts become an exception. One-shot loading, the automation technology in the cargo space and integration of the delivery drones all contribute to the described increases in efficiency. The technology also virtually rules out any false deliveries.
Best of all, the Vision Van comes equipped with a pair of drones that can carry 2kg items to customers within a 10km radius.
Are you reading this, DHL and LBC? Yep, your trucks just got owned.