Magway, a start-up company based in London, that was founded in 2017, envisions to create a network of underground infrastructure capable of delivering over 600 million packages in London annually.
The company was established by Phill Davies, a business expert, and by Rupert Cruise, an engineer that was associated with Elon Musk's Hyperloop project. Freight will be transported through magnetic tracks by carriages which will travel inside the network of the underground tunnels at a maximum speed of 64km/h. The capacity of the system may reach 72,000 carriages/h that will be power by an electric charge.
The carriages will be very close to each other (milliseconds apart in terms of time) and will travel in 90-centimeters pipes made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). According to Mr. Cruise, the system can be connected to existing automated repositories, creating a highly efficient delivery technique.
The system aims in reducing the transportation costs and delivery time of freight. The project can be accomplished in just 3 years, according to Magway.
Moreover, if this technology is implemented on a large scale, traffic and pollution will be highly reduced. “Not enough is being done to address the future of our transport infrastructure and, more importantly, how to tackle the problem of dangerous levels of air pollution. We need big ideas that will change the way we currently deliver goods and the face of transport for years to come,” Mr. Cruise stated.
Magway has established a testing facility in North Wembley, London and is currently evaluating the potential sites for an actual implementation of the system. At first, the delivery routes will be restricted but the firm's ultimate purpose is to create a "United Kingdom-wide" tunnel network. The location of the delivery nodes will be strategically selected so that 94% of London's population can be at a 15-minute walk distance.
Despite the fact that the proposed delivery system will be cost-efficient when completed, its construction is financially challenging. According to estimates, the total cost of the pipes and carriages is about $1.2 million/km while $4.2 million is also needed for design and permits. Considering that London consists of about 14.800 km of road, the cost is significant.