Remote control micro-trucks could save millions in fuel

A remote control micro-truck will begin trials today (April 1) to combat congestion and reduce emissions by third party logistics and supply chain solutions provider, Wincanton.

Codenamed Project Biscuit, the use of remote control technology will allow faster delivery of smaller parcels, with new vehicles designed to be small enough to travel between stationary larger vehicles.

the use of remote control technology will allow faster delivery of smaller parcels, with new vehicles designed to be small enough to travel between stationary larger vehicles (image courtesy of Professional Images/@ProfImages).
The use of remote control technology will allow faster delivery of smaller parcels, with new vehicles designed to be small enough to travel between stationary larger vehicles (image courtesy of Professional Images/@ProfImages).

Adrian Colman, Wincanton’s CEO, said: “As the largest British logistics business, Wincanton is always looking to improve sustainability in the supply chain and help the UK lower its carbon emissions. Micro-deliveries could revolutionise how goods are transported.

“The biggest barrier to reducing CO2 emissions in the UK supply chain is congestion, and these new trucks allow us to cut through traffic jams like a knife through butter, ensuring each parcel is delivered fresher than a bunch of daisies.”

A UK-wide trial is due to start today, and will initially involve 50 vehicles. These will be operated via an advanced remote control system from Wincanton’s Chippenham headquarters.

Colman added: “Of course, we also know that better management of the supply chain can dramatically reduce the number of wasted miles travelled by the UK’s logistics fleet.

A UK-wide trial is due to start today, and will initially involve 50 vehicles (image courtesy of Professional Images/@ProfImages).
A UK-wide trial is due to start today, and will initially involve 50 vehicles (image courtesy of Professional Images/@ProfImages).

“For example, we are targeting zero hours empty running with new technology to improve visibility of where there is capacity in the system. Winsight, our in-cab communications system, is already targeting significant carbon savings, by cutting the number of empty vehicles on the road.”

The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight estimates the industry could save £160m in fuel and prevent 426,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from being released, equivalent to the amount generated by approximately 70,000 cars a year, if hauliers made a concerted effort to reduce empty running of vehicles.

The International Road Transport Union estimates that road congestion increases fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions by 300%, and states that free flowing traffic is a prerequisite for reducing CO2 emissions.