Mercedes-Benz Demonstrates The Van as a Mobile Mailbox

Mercedes-Benz’s Future Transportation Systems (FTS) unit has been working together with Matternet since the summer of 2015 on the concept of transport drone development.

mercedes benz drone delivery test vehicle with person controlling flight
Source: Mercedes-Benz

The Vito is the first production vehicle to be specially designed as a mobile receiving station and landing site for electronic-powered drones.

The project involved an application to link up to an independent system, in which drones are positioned to land directly on the van.

The drone locates the van via GPS while the van scans the airspace and communicates a light signal to ensure the drone’s safe delivery.

The direct air route usually takes a shorter time than the land route—making it ideal for packages that need to be delivered fast.

The project has the nickname “Vans & Drones” and uses for this kind of delivery concept can range from local express deliveries to service and repair professionals that need parts for a job.

Mercedes-Benz Vans created a short video to showcase the project:

Mercedes Plans More Drone Deliveries in the Future

“Our expectations were all met — our main goals were about the technical feasibility and execution. We’re really, really satisfied because we had a perfect safety score.”

Corinna Elosge, Project Coordinator for Daimler AG from interview with Bloomberg

At least 50 shoppers placed orders with Siroop, choosing airmail deals from selected merchandise from Black & Blaze Coffee Roasting Co. for same-day delivery.

The drones flew to four fixed points in Zurich covering a distance of at least 17 kilometers to land on the roofs of the specially designed Mercedes-Benz Vito vans, Bloomberg wrote.

As more companies are looking for ways to cut costs and offer same-day shipping services, the potential of drones has captured attention, even as there are limits where the pilotless craft can fly.


More pilot tests are currently planned for the company’s drone next year. However, much will still depend on the regulation of each city, as making drops to individual vans that are parked up at random spots of a certain area remains part of Mercedes’ plans.

Just recently, Reykjavik became the first city to allow regular drone flights in a narrow air corridor and India is considering regulations for eCommerce drone deliveries.

The regulatory landscape will take some time to sort out as governments find ways to incorporate drones into air traffic.

Vans Drones Zurich Facts ENG
Source: Mercedes-Benz
“We can only learn from experience, and this is precisely what we are currently gathering in Germany and California. Now, it is our task to show the opportunities of the connection of these technologies for us and for our customers.
Thus, we can also support the political and regulatory processes and contribute to creating a framework that will make drone deliveries possible and safe in the future.”

Thomas Wurdig from the Future Transportation team

How do you feel about Mercedes’ idea of using drones to deliver packages? Share your comments down below.

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Editorial Note: This post is from a Company Press Release and may have been modified for clarity.

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