eCommerce has made buying and selling online possible from almost anywhere and has reduced the need for physical shops. However once your customer has purchased from your online store, the product they have bought needs to be picked, packed and delivered.
Road congestion is a major problem in all industrial countries and leading eCommerce stores like Amazon are already testing drones as a delivery method. See our post on drone delivery for more information.
In the UK; a Cambridge based company Mole Solutions is testing an underground delivery system for eCommerce. The idea of underground freight deliveries is not a new concept. Up until 2003 Royal Mail used unmanned tube trains to deliver mail to key Royal Mail sites in London.
The new system hopes to address the global traffic congestion problem, which is likely to increase with the growth of ecommerce. It follows the principal of underground water delivery and sewage removal and the use of underground pipe ways by oil and gas corporations. The freight will be couriered in a system of underground pipelines, powered by electricity and totally automated.
The main features of the proposed system are:
• The pipelines laid beside or under new traffic infrastructure for ease of construction, installation and integration with the existing supply network in the country.
• For easy accessibility, maintenance and reliability, simple, tried and tested technology is used.
• Totally automated for 24/7 operation. No need for comfort/ statutory breaks, which lorry drivers have to take.
• The capsule’s modular design accommodates different size freight deliveries.
• Security sealed capsules provide safe, secure transportation of freight.
• Powered by electricity the moles have a low environmental impact.
• The freight is loaded on and off using pallets in a roll on roll off system.
• A temperature control feature is possible for transporting food and other temperature susceptible goods.
The system will have a live trail in the near future after extensive computer modelling.
Image credit: Mole Solutions