Schlagwort-Archive: Drone Delivery

Mercedes-Benz unveils a van that launch delivery drones

Mercedes-Benz Vans and drone tech startup Matternet have created a concept car, or as they’re calling it a Vision Van, that could change the way small packages are delivered across short distances.

The Vision Van’s rooftop serves as a launch and landing pad for Matternet’s new, Matternet M2 drones.

The Matternet M2 drones, which are autonomous, can pick up and carry a package of 4.4 pounds across 12 miles of sky on a single battery charge in real world conditions.

They are designed to reload their payload and swap out batteries without human intervention. They work in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz Vans’ on-board and cloud-based systems so that items within a van are loaded up into the drone, automatically, at the cue of software and with the help of robotic shelving systems within the van.

A self-flying, Matternet 2 drone hoists a package near a shipping container.

A self-flying, Matternet M2 drone hoists a package near a shipping container.

 

Matternet designed a hard-shelled case to protect and carry any given cargo. The drone’s payload can transmit data about the contents and destination of a given delivery.

For a logistics company using the Matternet M2 drones or Vision Vans, that data could serve as a kind of proof of delivery, and alert users the instant a package has arrived.

Andreas Raptopoulos, co-founder and CEO of Matternet explained that while all of this sounds and looks like the stuff of sci-fi, the vans with integrated drone technology could be put to immediate good use where regulations allow.

The Vision Van can, for example, launch a Matternet M2 drone with a payload to a final destination that’s not accessible to a van or driver, whether that’s due to traffic in a populated urban area or a lack of safe roads in a more rural or disaster-stricken area.

Mercedes-Benz Vision Van with a rooftop-integrated Matternet 2 drone.

Mercedes-Benz Vision Van with a rooftop-integrated Matternet M2 drone.

 

Or, the drones could fly a package from a distribution center or warehouse to a van so a driver can ultimately take the package down and walk it up to a customer’s doorstep nearby.

A division of Daimler, Mercedes-Benz may be better known for its luxury and sports cars. However, the Mercedes-Benz Vans unit sold 321,000 vehicles in 2015, according to a company financial statement, with popular models in travel and logistics including the Sprinter, Marco Polo, Vito (known as the Metris in the U.S.) and Citan.

According to a company press statement Mercedes-Benz has invested an undisclosed amount in Matternet. According to SEC filings, Matternet has so far raised $9.5 million of a targeted $11.5 million venture funding round.

Mercedes-Benz and Matternet unveil vans that launch delivery drones

Domino’s – half of the company’s U.S. orders are now digital

Domino’s Is One Step Closer to Delivering Pizzas by Drone

“This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky idea.”

Some of the world’s biggest companies—Amazon, Google—are itching to make commercial deliveries by drone, but a pizza restaurant may beat them to it.

On Thursday, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises—an international franchiser of the Domino’s Pizza brand—conducted a demonstration of pizza delivery by drone in Auckland, New Zealand as it stated its intent to be the world’s first company to launch regular drone delivery.

“We’ve always said that it doesn’t make sense to have a 2-tonne machine delivering a 2-kilogram order,” Domino’s Group CEO and managing director Don Meij said in a statement. The use of drones, “is the next stage of the company’s expansion into the artificial intelligence space and gives us the ability to learn and adopt new technologies in the business.”

Domino’s is partnering with drone delivery company Flirtey for this effort. The demonstration on Thursday was a final step in Flirtey’s approval process, Domino’s says. It expects trial store-to-door drone deliveries from select Domino’s New Zealand locations to get underway later this year, assuming Flirtey gets the regulatory okay to make commercial drop-offs.

 

Domino’s says it chose to launch this capability in New Zealand because the country’s current regulations allow businesses to tap unmanned aircraft for commercial uses. But the specifics of New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority drone rules—namely the requirement that all drones must remain in sight at all times—could still prove tricky.

“Both Domino’s and Flirtey are learning what is possible with the drone delivery for our products, but this isn’t a pie in the sky idea. It’s about working with the regulators and Flirtey to make this a reality for our customers,” Meij said.

7-Eleven has also partnered with Flirtey for its trial drone deliveries. Last month the convenience store chain demonstrated its own drone delivery—an order of coffee, donuts, a chicken sandwich, and, of course, a Slurpee—in Reno, Nev. The companies called the test the first time a drone had legally delivered a package to a U.S. resident who placed an order from a retailer. In the U.S., there are strict drone regulations, which have pushed companies to conduct testing overseas. The Federal Aviation Administration has released new commercial drone rules that take effect this month, but they don’t allow for flying drones at night or outside the line of sight of their operators—restrictions that could make drone deliveries impractical.

In a statement, Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny said New Zealand “has the most forward-thinking aviation regulations in the world,” adding that Thursday’s demonstration “herald[ed] a new frontier of on-demand delivery for customers across New Zealand and around the globe.”

Drone delivery will let Domino’s reach more rural customers and to reach urban customers in a “much more efficient time,” Meij said.

Domino’s investment in technology is one reason for its recent success. The stock of its U.S. brand, Domino’s Pizza Inc., hit an all-time high earlier this week, reaching $151.10. In the past few years, it’s rolled out innovative ordering options, like allowing customers to place orders via emoji and Apple watches. A report in March said that half of the company’s U.S. orders are now digital.

Domino’s Is One Step Closer to Delivering Pizzas by Drone