Vision Van
Mercedes-Benz have partnered with Matternet to make the Vision Van a possibility.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz and drone startup Matternet have partnered for the creation of a concept car, calling it the Vision Van, pitching the vehicle as one that could reinvent the way packages are delivered across small distances.

The Vision Van’s roof serves as the takeoff and landing pad for Matternet’s new M2 drones. It could theoretically be a landing pad for another kind of drone, like the DJI Mini 2, but it was primarily designed for use with M2 drones for the following synergy.

The M2 drones, which are autonomous, can pick up and carry a package that weighs nearly five pounds and deliver it 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 the help of a human hand. The drones work in conjunction with Mercedes’ 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.

Matternet have also designed a hard-shelled case to protect and carry any given cargo. The drone’s transmitters will relay information such as contents and destination of the delivery.

Andreas Raptopoulos, co-founder and chief executive 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.

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.

Earlier this year, Matternet developed unmanned aircraft systems for UNICEF that are being used to transport blood samples for HIV testing in Malawi. The initiative could speed up the delivery of care to HIV-positive infants across the country where 10,000 children died of HIV-related illnesses in 2014.