Nov 7, 2020

Going Electric: The UK’s First Step Toward Zero Emissions

Supply Chain
Zero-emissions
Sustainability
UKBIC
Sam Scane
2 min
The United Kingdom is making a concerted effort to slash carbon emissions across the nation. Going electric will help that initiative...

In 2017 the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) was confirmed as part of the UK governments Faraday Battery Challenge, a partnership established between Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Warwick. 

With an initial government investment of £80mn and a further boost of £28mn, the 18,500sq ft facility exists in place of what will soon become a large-scale factory designed to allow organisations to prove that their battery technology will bring green jobs to the UK.

The development of the UKBIC is part of the government's plans for the UK to be a world leader in zero-emission vehicles, with plans for the first fully operational connected autonomous vehicles to deploy ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham. 

“Putting the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles is at the heart of our plans, creating jobs, growth and opportunity across the country,” said Stephenson. He added that the investment would “support the UK’s world-leading automotive industry to compete internationally, attract further investment and establish supply chains for new electric vehicle battery design and development.”

As modern advances in technology make efficient zero-emission vehicle production easier by the year, companies and governments alike need to establish a foothold in these areas, less they outsource and rely on other incomes. By establishing a base of operations for companies and organisations to test their technology, the UK stands to gain massively from a more economically efficient production centre. 

With the majority of the manufacturing equipment set to be commissioned by the end of the year, it seems the UK is on-track and ready to accept ideas on how to reduce their emissions. With solar panels and wind farms pioneering the future of green energy, electric cars and AI vehicles on the horizon, the future looks bright for modern technology, its capabilities ever-expanding and improving our everyday lives. 

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Jun 15, 2021

FedEx is Reshaping Last Mile with Autonomous Vehicles

FedEx
Logistics
LastMile
AutonomousVehicles
3 min
FedEx is expanding a trial of autonomous vehicles in its last-mile logistics process with partner Nuro, including multi-stop and appointment deliveries

FedEx is embarking on an expanded test of autonomous, driver-less delivery vehicles to develop its last-mile logistics. 

The US logistics firm piloted autonomous vehicles from Nuro in April this year, and the pair will now explore that further in a multi-year partnership. Cosimo Leipold, Nuro’s head of partnerships, said the collaboration "will enable innovative, industry-first product offerings that will better everyday life and help make communities safer and greener". 

FedEx will explore a variety of on-road use cases for the autonomous fleet, including multi-stop and appointment-based deliveries, beyond the boundaries mass movement of goods from A-B. The logistics company says the exponential growth in ecommerce is spurring its experimentation in new autonomy solutions, both in-warehouse and on-road. 

“FedEx was built on innovation, and it continues to be an integral part of our culture and business strategy,” said Rebecca Yeung, vice president, advanced technology and innovation, FedEx Corporation. “We are excited to collaborate with an industry leader like Nuro as we continue to explore the use of autonomous technologies within our operations.”

 

The changing role of couriers 

Unlike structured delivery networks, operating under long-term partnerships and contracts, agility is where couriers deliver true value - and their ability to deftly solve last-mile fulfilment has most acutely been felt during the pandemic. For the billions of people around the world forced to stay at home to protect themselves and their communities from the spreading COVID-19 virus, couriers have been a constant. They may have been the only knock at the door some people experienced for weeks or months at a time. 

But the last-mile has been uprooted by a boom in ecommerce, a shift that has been most apparent in the UK, US, China and Japan, according to the Global Parcel Delivery Market Insight Report 2021 by Apex Insight. These are markets with dominant economies and populations used to running their lives with a tap of a screen or double-click of a mouse. 

“Getting last mile delivery right has long been a challenge for retailers,” says Kees Jacobs, Vice President, Consumer Goods and Retail at Capgemini. “In 2019, 97% of retail organisations felt their last-mile delivery models were not sustainable for full-scale implementation across all locations. Despite increasing demand from customers, companies were struggling to make the last mile profitable and efficient.”

Jacobs says that the pandemic alleviated some of these stresses in the short term. With no other option, consumers were understanding and tolerant, if not entirely happy, with longer delivery times and less transparent tracking. “But, as extremely high delivery demand continues to be normal, customers will expect brands to contract their delivery times,” he adds. 

Last mile's role in ESG

Demand and volume weren’t the only things that have changed during the pandemic - businesses looked closer to home and as a result became more sustainable. Bricks and mortar stores were transformed from mini-showrooms to quasi-fulfilment centres. Online retailers and other businesses sought local solutions to ship more faster. In densely populated London, UK alone, Accenture found that delivery van emissions dropped by 17%, while Chicago, USA and Sydney, Australia saw similar emissions savings. 
 

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