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One-day event looks to the future of automated freight and logistics

At the end of November, Logistics UK and members of the Innovation Working Group travelled to Millbrook Proving Ground to a one-day event looking at how automated and connected technologies may help shape the future of freight and logistics.

As an area of growing interest, it was a timely opportunity to bring together a variety of stakeholders to reflect on where things may be heading.


Organised by Zenzic, the event was hosted by UTAC, one of the six facilities that make up CAM Testbed UK – a facility where connected and self-driving vehicle technologies can be tested safely. As part of the day, attendees experienced a drive around the test track to get a better sense of what exactly happens at the testbed.

With representatives present from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, an expert unit in government looking at these technologies, UK5G and Smart Mobility Living Lab, Logistics UK was able to champion the need for a focus on technologies that will be of tangible benefit to the industry and deliver efficiency gains.


Logistics UK presented on the work that had been taking place with the Innovation Working Group, which is made up of a range of Logistics UK members. Director of Policy, Elizabeth de Jong, explained that Logistics UK had been working in this area for the past couple of years and that the vision for the future was an industry that is “flexible and resilient, recognised for its value, with optimised efficiency and zero negativities”.

Michelle Gardner, Head of Public Policy and Phil Lloyd, Head of Engineering Policy then took the audience through some technology ‘use cases’ it had developed with the Working Group. Noting use cases was not something Logistics UK had been involved with before; Gardner highlighted the starting point was conversations with members on all the different possible technologies and what business benefits they could deliver. This identified those with the strongest case for future development and investment.


Top of the pile was autonomous vehicles, with use cases including trunking and local deliveries. Lloyd highlighted the work had given careful consideration to both the business benefits and risks, as a balanced view was needed, alongside overcoming any public concerns and delivering the required infrastructure for vehicles to operate.

Looking at the benefits, Lloyd said different degrees of autonomy could mean reduced accidents, reduced driver fatigue and improved fuel efficiency. But new technologies can also increase business costs.


Other speakers at the event included representatives from companies involved in developing and deploying new innovative technologies. These included StreetDrone, Oxbotica, Aurrigo and Hypermile. Alexander Dennis spoke about the CAVForth trial, which will see full-sized autonomous buses running on UK roads for the first time next year.

“This event was a great opportunity to bring together a range of stakeholders to discuss priorities for the UK logistics industry and hear insights of what the connected and autonomous industry has to offer,” Gardner said, “We look forward to continuing our working with the Innovation Working Group and building on the feedback and input we heard on the day”.


Published On: 16/12/2021 16:00:18


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