Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new concept van and a broader strategic vision for urban deliveries, dubbed adVANce.
The initiative is aimed at finding new ways to improve efficiency for the urban delivery sector, as the demand for same-day delivery and delivery within the hour grows rapidly.
The new Vision Van concept is not a foreshadowing of an imminent new Mercedes-Benz model, but part of a future connected and integrated delivery framework which encompasses all the people and processes involved from the distribution centre to the final customer. It features a fully-automated cargo space and integrated delivery drones, with the intention being that the driver can pull over in a designated area and press a button for multiple packages to be autonomously delivered to nearby consignees.
The Vision Van is electrically powered with a claimed range of between 50 and 170 miles, depending on the application – although there is very little detail of how this would be achieved. However, electric delivery vehicles are inevitable for future urban deliveries, especially for late-night deliveries to residential areas.
Naturally, the Vision Van would be fully integrated with the operator’s telematics system, to monitor every aspect of the vehicle’s status and report in real time to the distribution manager. It also predicts a remote part and tool management system for service vehicles, being able to automatically manage inventory and order new parts to be delivered directly to the van overnight.
One of the key aspects of the Vision Van’s design is a fully-automated cargo space. Rather than manually loading and rearranging packages every trip, a one-shot loading system would load the vehicle with a full load of pre-picked parcels in one go, and then show the driver exactly where the right package is located at each destination.
Another possibility for the van’s technology is on-demand shared transportation of passengers and goods. With the expectation that future vehicles will have either total or substantial autonomous driving technology, it may be possible for a van to collect passengers and deliver goods on the same route.