Daimler to deploy robot vans and drones to boost UAE last mile

Daimler says drone and robot technologies could improve last mile logistics efficiency by up to 50%.
The Vision Van is expected to increase the productivity of last-mile deliveries by 50 percent.
The Vision Van is expected to increase the productivity of last-mile deliveries by 50 percent.

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Daimler Commercial Vehicles is exploring the feasibility of developing robot-carrying and drone enabled delivery vans in the UAE to enhance the efficiency of last mile fulfilment for clients.

“The sector of logistics served by vans is growing at a rapid rate, and is being driven in large part by evolving economic and social global trends,” says Roland Schneider, president & CEO Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA. “These include urbanisation, the growth in e-commerce, the intelligent networking of a wide range of technologies in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the proliferation of platform-based business models.”

Daimler envisions a van capable of carrying robotic material handlers in an automated cargo space.

The van will be powered by a 75 kW electric drive system with a range of up to 270 km/h, and will be the first van to feature a fully automated cargo space and integrated delivery drones.

“For example, if a parcel service provider stops his vehicle in a residential area, it will be possible to deliver multiple packages to nearby consignees autonomously by air – even if they are not at home – in addition to manual delivery,” explains Schneider.

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This, he says, makes the delivery job easier, reduces delivery time and offers end customers new opportunities such as same-day delivery at a more specific agreed time.

“Delivery drones will have a positive impact on commercial fleets, in terms of increasing productivity of delivery services, particularly in built-up urban areas where parking and unloading is an issue. Drones will also increase the drivers’ productivity by allowing them to conduct other tasks while drones are delivering packages to customers by air,” Schneider adds.

“In addition, delivery time per package would decrease, meaning that businesses could more accurately estimate the delivery window for their customers. The Vision Van is expected to increase the productivity of last-mile deliveries by 50 percent,” he says.

The prototype van, the Vision Van, is part of Daimler’s advance strategy, focused on meeting the changing needs of customers and incorporating technological systems that will help to advance the sector. This includes systematically introducing digitalisation, automation and robotics, to offer integrated and intelligent systems in addition to the basic vehicles in the future.

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