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EP1 Design Challenge Winner Named

EP1 Design Challenge Winner Named
EP1 Design Challenge Winner Named
July 9, 2021   //   

JULY 9, 2021 — The Urban Freight Lab (UFL) is pleased to announce Sam Ricord, doctoral student in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Transportation Track) as the winner of the BrightDrop Urban Freight Lab EP1 Design Competition.

The EP1 Design Competition was sponsored by BrightDrop (a new commercial delivery and logistics business from GM), administered by the Urban Freight Lab, and was designed for University of Washington students to showcase their skills in materials and mechanical engineering, transportation planning, industrial design, supply chain and logistics, and human-centered robotics — and conduct an evaluation on BrightDrop’s new electric pallet (EP1) and develop recommendations on product improvement and use case.

“Global e-commerce is soaring as consumers want their packages faster than ever before, putting significant strain on supply chains. We applaud Sam for his innovative thinking and commitment to identifying sustainable solutions that address these real-world challenges head on,” said Bob Tiderington, senior manager of Strategy and Operations at BrightDrop. “It’s creative ingenuity like Sam’s that will help accelerate the ideation and deployment of more sustainable first/last mile delivery solutions.”

Ricord’s solution is to increase the potential model options for the device, transitioning from short and medium distance deliveries to use by on any mode (both locally and intercity), including long haul trucking, high speed rail, and cargo flight. This can be done by reducing the weight of the EP1 and allowing in-transit charging, enabling the EP1, rather than each individual package, to become the new fundamental unit of package delivery. Ricord’s proposal targets the most inefficient parts of the logistics chain (where packages change between modes), reducing the complexity of mode shifts by orders of magnitude, making it possible to use the most efficient mode for each leg of the journey.

“I’m happy to contribute to finding equitable and sustainable solutions to critical issues in our transportation network,” said Ricord. “Freight is a critical part of the transportation network, and as such it is important to find solutions to the critical issues in the field such as first/last mile deliveries.”

Submissions were scored on novelty, viability, and quality of the solution.

Ricord is a first-year graduate student studying Transportation Engineering and serves as a research assistant in the Smart Transportation and Application and Research (STAR) Lab, which focusing on emerging technologies in transportation engineering. He is passionate about creating a positive impact in society through the continued advances in the transportation field.

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About the Urban Freight Lab (UFL): The Urban Freight Lab is a structured partnership of academic researchers, public sector agencies, and private sector firms — shippers, retailers, tech providers, property owners, and manufacturers — working collaboratively to identify complex urban freight management problems and design solutions to make industry more efficient and cities more sustainable, livable.