MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Matternet, the leading developer of autonomous drone logistics systems, today announced a strategic partnership with Mercedes-Benz Vans and a multimillion dollar investment in the company to create the future of delivery. Through the partnership, Matternet and Mercedes-Benz have joined forces to create an integrated delivery solution that will transform how people receive lightweight goods on demand. Matternet has also unveiled its second-generation drone, Matternet M2.
Autonomous drone systems hold the promise of vastly more efficient, faster and cheaper delivery. Today, Mercedes-Benz Vans unveiled its Vision Van, showcasing a new end-to-end platform for last-mile delivery, featuring a fully automated cargo management system and Matternet delivery drones. Matternet developed the technology that is integrated into the roof of the van, allowing for precision landing and automatic payload and battery exchange. Matternet's cloud technology is integrated with Mercedes-Benz's van routing software, allowing end-to-end control of the supply chain. The first project bringing this vision into reality is "Vans and Drones" (see video here).
"In Mercedes-Benz Vans, we found a partner that is not only synonymous with quality, safety, reliability and efficiency, but is also willing to imagine and create the future of transportation with us," said Andreas Raptopoulos, co-founder and CEO of Matternet. "We are driven by a common vision to automate last-mile logistics, which today is the least efficient and most expensive part of logistics. Through this partnership, we are building solutions that will dramatically reduce the time and cost of on-demand delivery."
"With our Vision Van, we are going beyond the vehicle," said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "We have been working closely with Matternet to create the world's first fully connected and automated cargo van with integrated delivery drones. Matternet is a trusted partner, and we are looking forward to what we can accomplish together."
Matternet has developed a complete solution for automated aerial logistics that enables customers to implement and grow modular networks of any size to meet their needs. The company not only offers a fully autonomous aerial vehicle, but combines it with a sophisticated cloud system for automatic route planning, monitoring and analytics.
Matternet's drone and cloud technology were developed and designed with safety as a key objective. Its autonomous delivery network is the safest solution available, with certifications from leading aviation authorities around the world, including NASA and the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation. Its system is designed to enable flight over urban, populated areas, not just rural and sub-urban. The drone is equipped with a redundant flight termination system that deploys a parachute automatically if needed, and uses intelligent software to ensure that the vehicle never diverges by more than 5 meters (16.4 feet) from its pre-authorized path. Flight paths are automatically generated in approved airspace by Matternet's cloud system using terrain, airspace and population-density models to plan the safest routes.
The new Matternet M2 drone is completely autonomous. It can transport up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) and travel up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) on a single battery charge. It can drop and reload a payload and battery without human interaction, and features a smart payload box that can transmit data about its contents and destination. It also has precision landing capabilities and captures proof of delivery.
Matternet is the leading developer of autonomous drone logistics systems. The company's complete solution for automated aerial logistics enables customers to implement and grow modular networks of any size at the scale of their needs. Matternet has partnerships with some of the world's most trusted organizations including Mercedes-Benz Vans, Swiss Post, Swiss WorldCargo, UNICEF, World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders. For more information about Matternet, please visit: https://mttr.net
About Mercedes-Benz Vans Globally
Mercedes-Benz Vans is a global full-line supplier of vans and related services. Alongside the large-size Sprinter van and the mid-size Vito van (known in the U.S. as Metris), the division's worldwide product portfolio includes the Mercedes-Benz Citan urban delivery van. Mercedes-Benz Vans is also represented in the private segment with the V-Class MPV and the Marco Polo and Marco Polo ACTIVITY travel vans. The division has a total of nine production locations: in Germany, Spain, the USA, Argentina, China (joint venture with Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd), France (strategic alliance with Renault-Nissan) and Russia (partnerships with GAZ and YaMZ). To date, the main markets have been in Western Europe, accounting for a total of 65 percent of unit sales in 2015.