£1.3m for Freight Innovators Selected for Trials with Industry Heavyweights

From new cargo drones to upcycling freight trains, the latest firms selected for the Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator have been unveiled.

Ten small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will each receive a share of £1.3m to conduct technology trials with industry partners. The SMEs will also benefit from trial and business support tailored to their needs as part of the programme. This includes trial design training, monitoring and evaluation, investment readiness, pitch coaching, marketing support, and business modelling.

The Freight Innovation Fund is backed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by Connected Places Catapult. The Fund was launched in January 2023 to help SMEs develop greener and more efficient solutions for freight. The first round of winning projects on the Accelerator was announced in April 2023.

“Our freight sector is growing at pace and has the potential to support jobs and economic growth in every region of the UK.

“Transforming freight also provides opportunities to unlock efficiency savings for businesses and drive down carbon emissions. I’m pleased to welcome this exciting group of innovators to the Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator.”
Erika Lewis, Chief Executive at Connected Places Catapult

Speaking at the Microlise Transport Conference last week, Minister for Roads and Local Transport, Guy Opperman MP, announced that a new group of SMEs have been selected. Meet the accelerators’ Second Cohort :

Ai Automation
Ai Automation offers an innovative palletising solution for manufacturing and logistics, aiming to improve pallet efficiency. Their trial will focus on palletising and de-palletising with Wincanton.

Ensemble Analytics Ltd
Ensemble Analytics has partnered with a consortium of UK Ports to develop Athena, a workforce scheduling tool designed specifically for port operations teams. Athena simplifies scheduling, making it fairer, safer, and more efficient.

Flexible Power Systems
Flexible Power Systems has developed Operate. Operate is an automated real-time platform for managing electric vehicle fleets and chargers. It  streamlines commercial electric vehicle management by providing automated reporting, dynamic optimisation and remote maintenance. Initially developed for Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) applications, it will be deployed in the Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator programme with Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) for the first time, with a Centre for Sustainable Road Freight-led operator consortium and Wincanton.

Go Rolloe Ltd.
Go Rolloe Ltd. has developed a device that manufacturers can add to trucks and buses to capture non-exhaust emissions. Go Rolloe designed this innovative device for truck and bus operators to help reduce non-exhaust emissions. In collaboration with Maxion Wheels, Go Rolloe will test the device in a real-world setting to validate its effectiveness.

Hubl Logistics Ltd
Hubl Logistics has developed CoolRun Pods to revolutionise last-mile food distribution. Its temperature-controlled containers protect and monitor their contents and are ideal for food logistics, such as store fulfilment, food service, and home deliveries. To validate the technology, CoolRun will undertake trials and gather data from its project partners Welch’s Transport, Pilgrim Foods, and Cenex.

Inteliports has developed a solution that can seamlessly integrate drones into communities, providing the quickest and most affordable instant delivery service in the market. In partnership with Vodafone, they aim to demonstrate that drone deliveries are a viable option and can be implemented on a large scale using autonomous hardware and the latest blockchain technology.

IONA is testing its novel tilt-rotor cargo drone that logistics providers can use instead of delivery vans and oversized vehicles in the last-mile delivery space. As part of the Freight Innovation Fund Accelerator programme, IONA is partnering with Eagle Couriers in Scotland to validate a technical proof of concept. IONA’s trial involves testing the drone’s ability to carry cargo and preparing the necessary documents for certification.

Meteor Power Limited
Meteor Power transforms ageing freight locomotives with state-of-the-art battery-electric powertrains and control systems. They will team up with Freightliner and Maritime Transport for the first commercial deployment of their electric 08 locomotive.

Sorair Technologies
Sorair provides autonomous surveillance software systems specifically designed for maritime logistics companies. Their software enhances surveillance coverage and improves overall security procedures and efficiencies. Sorair is currently conducting a trial at the DP World London Gateway site to implement their software across the site and help DP World counter the problems they face at their port.

Zugbox Ltd
Zugbox is developing lightweight intermodal containers for the secondary logistics sector. Zugbox containers augment access to rail freight and optimise the use of Zero Emissions Delivery Vehicles (ZEDV). Their trial focuses on technology de-risking, confidence building, and generating ZEDV specifications for partner Russell Logistics to issue to vehicle manufacturers.

Freight Innovation Fund Cohort brochure
File Type: pdfFile size: 3.1MB

The Freight Innovation Fund programme also features the Freight Innovation Cluster, launched last year, which has already grown to a network of over 320 businesses. The Cluster connects industry, innovators, and investors looking to explore joint opportunities and progress disruptive technologies in freight.