A futuristic delivery system which propels packages along a three-foot pipe using electrocharged magnets could revolutionise online shopping, according to its British developers.
Magway transports goods including parcels and groceries on carriages along a magnetic track. When electricity starts running through the track, this pushes the carriages forward at just under 40mph.
Its developers say the system slashes delivery costs, energy usage and road congestion – and they have already won £1million worth of funding to build a prototype in partnership with online grocery firm Ocado.
Magway transports goods including groceries and small parcels on carriages moving along a magnetic track. Pictured is a still from an animated video showing a carriage moving along a track
If a further stage of fundraising is successful, the first 56-mile section of pipe between Milton Keynes and Park Royal in London could be up and running within three years, according to commercial director Phill Davies.
‘This is a game changer for e-commerce and logistics. It is UK innovation at its best,’ he told MailOnline. ‘We want to set this up across the whole of Britain and then after that, the world.’
Mr Davies hopes to pitch the technology to companies who need to move large numbers of small to medium-sized items from warehouses to distribution centres near to consumers.
The system uses pipes similar to those used by gas and electricity companies, which can be buried into the ground or raised just above land level. Crucially, the technology should be cheaper, quicker and more environmentally friendly than moving goods by road.
‘All the technology is in the track, so the carriages do not have a motor, battery or driver,’ explained Mr Davies. ‘We can control each of the carriages individually and know exactly where it is along the route.
‘By keeping them close together we can move up to 12 million of these carriages every week. They run through similar pipes to current utilities, which is reflected in installation costs of less than £1m per km.’
When electricity starts running through the track, this pushes the carriages forward at just under 40mph
Mr Davies believes the system could handle the vast majority of products sold by major online retailers.
‘We can address the entire online grocery market, which we’re at the forefront of at the UK,’ he said.
‘The system could handle 90 percent of the general merchandise coming out of Amazon, ASOS and John Lewis. The rest, like bikes and flat-screen TVs, is too large to fit in the pipe.’
Magway won funding from an Innovate UK Emerging & Enabling Technologies award with a consortium that includes Ocado and Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation, which manages the largest regeneration site in Europe.
It is currently in another fundraising stage and will open its 40-foot prototype track in Wembley next month.
The developers of Magway say the system slashes delivery costs, energy usage and road congestion