University of Southampton researchers have taken part in a successful bid to receive millions of pounds worth of investment for innovative transport projects.
The investment will go to the Solent region and amounts to over £28 million, a percentage of which will go towards the School of Engineering at the University of Southampton.
The School will be working alongside the Solent Transport partnership, which is made up of several local councils, on two groundbreaking projects. The first will look at freight, and particularly how NHS hospitals can make use of new technology to transport life-saving materials. The second will focus on reducing our dependency on cars over the coming years, specifically within the deliveries sector.
The money is coming from the Department for Transport.
Project leads for the freight distribution team will be Professor of Logistics and Transport Management Tom Cherrett and Professor of Design Jim Scanlan, with Dr James Pritchard leading the Mobility as a Service schemes.
Commenting on his team’s work, Professor Cherrett said:
At the moment we rely very heavily on road vehicles for all our deliveries which has a knock-on impact on air quality and congestion. We will not suddenly be replacing these with drones but for certain product types, it makes sense to investigate how they might be used in combination with traditional logistics fleets to service remote areas. The concept of using drones to deliver medical supplies has been proven in countries such as Rwanda and most recently Ghana where un-manned aerial vehicles are making over 500 flights per day, helping to save lives by reaching isolated communities quickly and cheaply.
Dr Pritchard’s team will be working closely with the UniLink bus franchise company as they seek to use technology to reduce our dependence on private motor vehicles.