Mercedes-Benz has revealed a revolutionary take on the delivery van by unveiling its Vision Van concept ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month.

The Vision Van is an autonomous, drone-launching prototype that Benz sees as a future blueprint for logistics and delivery companies across the globe and one that works potentially without humans in the hypothetical supply chain.

It utilises a whole range of new technologies with the aim of reducing the time and effort required to deliver parcels from a distribution centre to consumers.

Mercedes Benz calls it adVANce and the major feature is a pair of drones parked on the top of the van that can automatically load a parcel through a port in the roof and deliver it to a nearby destination.

However Mercedes-Benz believes the delivery solutions inside will be the major attraction for prospective buyers, lease companies or renters.

Rectangular racks which hold 46 slide-in open top baskets flank the length of side of the cargo area and in a neat and practical trick, both racks can slide along an automatic lifting platform to the rear of the van to ensure easy loading access at the distribution centre.

On the road the Vision Van can automatically load the appropriate parcel as it approaches a recipient’s address using the automated rack feeder to move the desired package from the rack, sliding it to a ‘pass-through’ just behind the driver or, in the case of the autonomous version, attaching to the drone, before completing the delivery and moving onto the next job.

Thomas Moser, the project director for the Vision Van, says the concept short-cuts the needless time-consuming elements of the delivery business.

“We know from our customers that retrieving the packages at the stop may take several minutes today, because consignments have to be sought or resorted. The automated cargo space in the Vision Van solves this problem,” he said.

Vision Van’s cabin has no steering wheel or switchgear indicating a fully autonomous capability underlining Mercedes-Benz commitment to autonomous vehicle technology.

The Van uses an electric drivetrain which in normal conditions produces 75kW and 270Nm, but can deliver up to 150kW for 60 seconds when required.

It’s has a normal to speed of 80km/h in normal conditions but can be extended to 120km/h as desired while it has a usable range which can be configured between 80km and 270km.