Has one of our best-known clients - Mercedes Benz - created a technical solution that will replace our skilled technical logistics teams!
Mercedes-Benz has created a prototype van with Starship Technologies that allows eight of the company's ground-based drones to be stored inside a Sprinter van. The theory being that a van stuffed with the robots and deliveries for offices and commercial premises arrives at a central location and unloads the robot delivery vehicles, which will complete the last leg of the journey avoiding city centre traffic. One van has been built and initial testing has taken place, but there is no date on when the technology will be ready to be used commercially.
Mercedes said its Sprinter van incorporates a "conveyor racking system" that can be loaded with a total of 54 load carriers for the Starship bots that use ramps to trundle in and out of the vehicle. Deliveries would be co-ordinated by an algorithm that determines the best route for the van to take. This algorithm would pick out the best location for the van to stop and release the army of delivery bots which will be equipped with cameras to monitor their progress and, if anything goes wrong, alert a human to the problem.
While a number of companies, including Google and Amazon, are looking to use airborne drones for deliveries, Starship believes its drones –which are effectively autonomous boxes on wheels – provide a better solution. To date, the firm, which launched in 2015, has signed deals with Just Eat, Hermes, Metro Group and Pronto.co.uk to bring its deliveries to the UK. There’s a lot of difference between a Gujarati curry and a 15 ton generator, so while we’re big fans of technology, we won’t feel threatened... yet.