Electric-powered delivery trailers to be trialled in London
A consortium has today (13 July) announced plans to develop electric powered bike and walker trailers that will be used to deliver packages in trials conducted in the City of Westminster, in the heart of London.
The six-strong consortium includes product development firm Fernhay and global delivery company UPS, as well as Skotkonung, the University of Huddersfield, Westminster City Council and Outspoken Delivery (a specialist in cycle-based deliveries).
Fernhay, Skotkonung and the University of Huddersfield will design and develop the IP protected prototype which Outspoken Delivery will test in Cambridge ahead of the live trial testing by UPS in the City of Westminster.
Development of the trailer system begins this month. UPS will run trials in early 2017 in Mayfair, one of the densest London delivery areas.
The consortium claims that the design will “signal the next generation of delivery trailers – combining speed, mobility and analytics to provide a sustainable delivery system that could signal a new future for urban courier logistics”.
Fernhay’s technology is “net neutral”, so the weight of the trailer is not felt by the handler, allowing for increased last mile deliveries by foot or cycling. This will result in a decrease in the use of vans in congested urban areas, providing environmental benefits as well as increased parcel drop rates and more flexibility in delivery routes. Six trailers can be dropped into a busy city centre by a single van, allowing the trailer system to easily cover a large urban area.The project will also create associated optimisation algorithms written by Skotkonung, through a GPS tracker fitted within the trailer, allowing for continuous improvement in route speed and efficiency.
The Low Impact City Logistics project is part of a £10m investment by Innovate UK in a range of collaborative research and development projects that aim to improve the efficiency and experience of the end-to-end journey for people and freight.
Fernhay will coordinate the consortium, having been awarded the funding following a competitive pitch process.
Robin Haycock, Director of Fernhay said: “Solving problems that are difficult but important to society, is exciting and rewarding work for Fernhay. Delivering increasing volumes of parcels to people in dense urban environments, whilst minimising the environmental effects and saving money, is the solution that we hope to deliver with our trailer system.”
Peter Harris, UPS Director of Sustainability EMEA, added: “UPS has always prided itself on its market-leading sustainability schemes, and the Low Impact City Logistics project is no different. Using Fernhay’s advanced technology and UPS’s years of logistics experience, we can transform the way that customers receive their parcels. The UK is one of UPS’s leading markets in terms of environmental initiatives, and is a natural fit for the trial of this exciting venture.”
And a final word from Rob King, the Managing Director of Outspoken Delivery: “We are very excited to be involved with this project; we have over 10 years’ experience in cycle based delivery and have seen huge leaps in innovation in the last few years which has contributed to cycle based delivery being seen as a demonstrable solution to the environmental problems associated with deliveries in urban areas.”