Ford trials mobile micro-hubs with Gnewt in London

Ford has developed a last mile delivery system similar to one used by UPS where large vehicles act as mobile micro-hubs and cycle couriers deliver the ‘final yard’.

Ford is trialling the system in partnership with Menzies Distribution-owned Gnewt, a low emissions delivery company. It is trialling the use of vans parked in strategic places where zero emissions vehicles and pedestrian delivery personnel deliver from there to customers. This is very similar to the system being trialled around the world by UPS where electric bikes and trikes use a mobile delivery van parked in a strategic place.

Ford has developed cloud based software that identifies those parking spots fort the van drivers to park their ‘micro hubs’. According to the company it could reduce congestion, emissions and improve delivery times.

“Our goal is to keep larger vehicles like delivery vans operating in the high ‐load, less‐congested environments in which they perform best,” said Tom Thompson, project lead, Ford Mobility. “However, for the last mile of a journey into an urban area, where congestion and lack of parking can be a challenge, it makes sense to offload deliveries to more nimble, efficient and cost‐effective modes of transport.”

The first Ford trial of this system is to begin in London in the coming months.

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