Mercedes-Benz Vans has unveiled its strategic future initiative ‘adVANce’ for the transport industry. Listening to customer feedback, Mercedes reports that the transformation of the industry is the result of various economic and social trends, among them 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.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is systematically making use of present-day and future technological opportunities presented by digitalisation, automation and robotics. The business division is developing from a mere vehicle manufacturer into a provider of system solutions and will offer integrated and intelligent systems in addition to its basic vehicles in the future.
“In the first six months of this year, we brought in the best results yet for Mercedes-Benz Vans. This provides us with an excellent foundation to position our vans division systematically for the future,” said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “To live up to the dramatic changes in our sector, we adapt our ‘Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global’ strategy and expand it beyond the product and untapped international markets. We are focusing our attention beyond the vehicle on the entire value chain and business environment of our customers. We provide transport solutions for the digital age and evolve the van into an intelligent, interconnected data centre on wheels. In order to do this, we are investing around half a billion euros over the next five years, and we created a separate organisational unit. So far, this approach is unique within the van sector.”
The all-electric vehicle combines various innovative solutions for last-mile delivery in urban and suburban environments. It is the first van worldwide to fully digitally connect all people and processes involved, from the distribution centre to the consignee. In addition to this, it is the first van ever to feature a fully automated cargo space and integrated delivery drones.
Mercedes gives the example of a parcel service provider stops his vehicle in a residential area, stating 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.
Mercedes-Benz Vans envisages deployment of the Vision Van boosting efficiency by up to 50 percent on the last mile. The vehicle is equipped with a 75 kW electric drive and depending on the intended application has a range of 80 km to approximately 270 km. With the Vision Van, deliveries are emission-free.
“With the Vision Van from Mercedes-Benz Vans we provide an idea of future generations of vans: the intelligent automation technology connects the entire process, from loading and transportation by road through to delivery to the consignee. This makes it easier for the deliverer to do business and rapidly reduces the delivery time for end customers,” adds Mornhinweg. “Equipped with an electric drive system, the Vision Van not only operates locally emission-free, it also moves almost silently. This means that it can be operated in cities even during times when there are traffic restrictions or for late-night deliveries in residential areas. This gives our customers the possibility of offering new services to their customers.”