Is underground same day delivery just a pipe dream?
By Dan Boaz
Speculation about future developments in the same day delivery market often leads to discussions about the practical likelihood of drone delivery and modifications to the distribution center consumer configuration. This week sees the potential for urgent freight instead being delivered in a subterranean manner via a huge underground network of pipes. The story comes from The Independent newspaper in the UK, a nation that has perhaps the most congested urban roads in Europe as the difficulties of road transportation continue to mount.
The story comes from the Independent newspaper in the UK, a nation that has perhaps the most congested roads in Europe as the difficulties of road transportation continue to mount. The concept sounds too futuristic at first glance, but funding research is being provided by the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.
Mole Solutions is a Cambridge, England-based company who are exploring whether the idea of urgent delivery via pipes can work on a widespread basis. The technology involves capsules propelled underground by magnetic fields through the new pipe networks. A trial of the system is being considered in the town of Northampton and could be online within a few years and it presents an exciting, if very alternate future for same day freight.
Mole Solutions’ head Roger Miles, a former supply chain analyst at Esso explores the idea further;
“Clean water is taken into homes and dirty water is taken away and we never really see it, while huge amounts of oil and diesel are transported by pipes underground. Now we want to do something similar with freight, delivering goods to buildings and taking away waste. Congestion is a global issue and we could take a significant volume of traffic off the roads, not just in the UK but in countries like China and India. The bounds of this are limitless"
It's also very interesting to note that in addition to the government funding, logistics giant DHL are also involved in the project. Yes, in 2015 it might sound a little like a pipe dream but could it be a viable option in congested cities in the years to come?
The video below further explains the ideas being brought forward by Mole Solutions.
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