It was announced today that a consortium of businesses and organisations plan to develop and trial an innovative electric powered bike and walker trailers to deliver packages in the centre of London. The IP protected prototype will be designed and developed by Skotkonung, Fernhay and the University of Huddersfield and tested by Outspoken Delivery in Cambridge ahead of the live trial testing by UPS in the City of Westminster.
The design signals 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.
The Low Impact City Logistics project is part of a £10 million 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. Specialist product development firm Fernhay will coordinate the consortium, having been awarded the funding following a competitive pitch process.
Development of the trailer system begins this month, with trials by leading global logistics provider UPS taking place in early 2017 in Mayfair, one of the densest London delivery areas. The trial comes at a crucial time for logistics providers, who have seen the rates of B2C domestic package delivery increase significantly as e-commerce continues to grow.
Fernhay’s innovative 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.
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 said: “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.
Rob King, Managing Director of Outspoken Delivery said: “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.”
Professor Rakesh Mishra, University of Huddersfield said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting project that has the potential to provide substantial costs savings to the freight transport sector as well as significant benefits for the environment. The combination of our expertise in sensor design and analytics along with the expertise and knowledge of the consortium partners will ensure that we deliver an innovative technology that will have a transformative effect.”
Cllr Heather Acton, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking, said: “Westminster City Council is committed to improving air quality throughout the borough. We are taking the lead through our Greener City Action Plan to map out how, with our partners, we can tackle pollution. Reducing freight vehicle movements and increasing cycling are key parts of this, so we are pleased to be working with businesses in joining them together through this innovative scheme in our vision for a cleaner, healthier and greener city.”
Jon Cole, Skotkonung said: “Skotkonung are excited to be a part of such an innovative project, which is paving the way toward revolutionising logistics operations. Skotkonung’s experience in developing technology solutions to maximise efficiency makes us well placed to contribute to this project, and we look forward to continuing to work with the wider team to a successful project conclusion.”
Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness
Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.
How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature
Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.
While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.
When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness. Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.
4 Practical Ways to Disconnect
If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:
1. Switch to a New Phone Plan
It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.
One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.
2. Get Rid of Social Media
Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).
If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.
3. Create Quiet Hours
If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.
4. Build Community
Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.
As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.
Untether Your Life
If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.
6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move
Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.
6 Tips for a Greener Move
Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.
1. Maximize Each Trip
When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.
If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.
2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep
The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.
3. Reuse Moving Boxes
Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.
4. Get Creative With Packing
Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.
5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies
Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.
6. Forward Your Mail ASAP
Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.
Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful
Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.
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