German auto maker Mercedes-Benz is taking to the skies. On Wednesday, it announced a partnership with the drone startup Matternet to deliver small packages short distances with a concept called the Vision Van.
Able to carry packages up to 4.4 pounds across distances of six miles, the drones are designed to reduce delivery times in traffic-congested and remote areas that are difficult to reach with established roadways.
Working in conjunction with all-electric delivery vans, the drones attach to the van roof above an opening that leads to the vehicle's interior compartment. Before the drone takes off, a robotic arm finds the package and moves it to a special box inside the hatch, which then opens for the drone to pick up the item and fly away, guided by GPS to its destination.
Join The Ride's Sue Carpenter and Alonzo Bodden for a special live show on Monday, Sept. 19 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. A reception begins at 6:30, and the show begins at 7:30. It's free, but you must RSVP.