Students study how technology could help Portsmouth be less reliant on cars

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Students from UTC Portsmouth have shared their ideas for how technology and robotics could help people become less reliant on their cars, as part of a term-long project with Portsmouth City Council.

In September, four groups of students from the university technical college were tasked by the council’s regeneration team to explore how the latest technology, from drones to autonomous vehicles, could be used to help people and goods move around and reduce the number of cars and vans on the roads.

Over the term the students researched how robotics are being used in other cities around the UK and overseas to help people commute, to deliver shopping, or collect waste and recycling. Their research led them to four solutions that they think could be trialled within Portsmouth.

The students’ ideas included a hydrogen-powered water shuttles to introduce greener, quieter and faster travel around Portsmouth Harbour.

The team also suggested the ‘Back Buddy’ – a Portsmouth-built autonomous delivery robot that can collect shopping, follow users around shops to save people carrying heavy bags.

Additionally, the students came up with the concept of a personalised online security system to protect delivery drones.

The students presented their ideas to a panel of transport and regeneration specialists. Councillor Hugh Mason, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for planning policy and city development, listened to the students’ final presentations.

He said: “I was very impressed with the imagination and ingenuity on display from the students at UTC Portsmouth. They had carefully considered the brief and each group identified key challenges facing cities as we look for greener ways to transport people and goods.

“They devised interesting solutions to these challenges, drawing on their studies at UTC Portsmouth as well as seeking input from other projects and experts around the world. With the creative ideas and the technical know-how of these students, I think we can expect to see an exciting future ahead for Portsmouth.”

The project was one of several employer-led programmes that UTC Portsmouth offered to students.

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