A trio of companies in Switzerland have begun a van and drone-based product delivery system.
Swiss online marketplace siroop has teamed up with Mercedes-Benz Vans and drone systems developer Matternet to deliver certain items with the help of drones.
“The pilot project, which started with first trials on September 25, represents a significant milestone for autonomous aerial systems: it is the first time that extensive beyond-line-of sight drone operations with the use of vans as landing platforms are taking place in a major urban area to test a fully-automated e-commerce drone network,” the companies said in a press release.
During the three week trial siroop orders weighing about 4 pounds or less will be loaded onto a drone, which will then fly the item to a “rendezvous point” where it will be placed onto a van and sent out for delivery.
Products available for order include coffee beans, phones, smart watches, Ray-Ban sunglasses and Gillette razor blades.
“Speed, flexibility and efficiency are key factors for our business, online retailing. These are precisely the aspects where the pilot project with Mercedes-Benz Vans and Matternet comes in,” siroop COO Peter Rohn said. “It allows us to further optimise the connection between our retailers and customers, and we fulfil the wishes of our customers for fast and flexible delivery.”
Mercedes-Benz hopes to bring this style of delivery to markets around the globe if the tests are successful.