Phase Two of Smart Dublin’s Last Mile Delivery Challenge launches

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Dublin City Council and Belfast City Council, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Programme, announced that five companies have successfully secured phase two contracts with funding of €160k to pilot new solutions that address the challenge of last mile deliveries in both Dublin and Belfast.


The five successful companies are Grid Smarter Cities, Parkunload, Passel, Fenrhay UPS and WeDispatch. Details of their proposed solutions are available below.


Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey said: “We’re delighted to support phase two of this Last Mile Delivery challenge. The wealth of innovation that’s been developed as part of this challenge presents real opportunities to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and make city centre deliveries safer. We look forward to working with these companies and our Smart Dublin colleagues over the coming months to trial solutions in both Belfast and Dublin.”


Speaking about the announcement Jamie Cudden, Smart City Programme Manager with Dublin City Council, said “Cities across the word face real challenges in how they manage city centre deliveries balancing the needs of business while at the same time enhancing the quality of the environment. The wealth of innovation that has been developed to date as part of the last mile delivery challenge represents real and exciting opportunities for cities to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and optimise deliveries. We look forward to working with the companies on phase 2 to test and trial their solutions in real city test-bed environments in both Dublin and Belfast”.


Last mile deliveries in cities across the world are posing major challenges which is adding to traffic congestion.  The changing nature of urban economies and supply chain management, and the impact of online retail has had an impact on the type and volume of goods deliveries in city centres. This in turn has had an impact on the wider urban environment in terms of air quality, traffic management and infrastructure.


Tom Kelly, head of innovation, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to partner with Dublin City Council, Belfast City Council and Smart Dublin to harness the best innovative solutions and lead the way in solving the last mile delivery challenge.


The SBIR programme is unique in that it gives public sector bodies and innovative Small and Medium Enterprises the opportunity to work together and develop creative and innovative solutions for real societal problems.”


The five companies receiving funding under Phase two are:


Grid Smarter Cities

Grid Smarter Cities have created an eco-system of smart solutions including Kerb, a real-time, Intelligent Kerbside Management solution that allows commercial vehicle operators the ability to reserve a time slot at a defined location on previously restricted kerb space, using an intuitive app.  This pre-booked space becomes a Virtual Loading Bay (VLB), allowing drivers to load and unload in close proximity to their delivery point, saving time whilst also reducing congestion, reducing air pollution and removing the risk of receiving a penalty charge notice.



Parkunload is a globally innovative and scalable IoT (Internet of Things) platform to regulate, control and monitor loading zones, by using smart road signs, smart parking buttons and mobile apps. Parkunload’s flexible solution can manage digital parking permits and the maximum parking time depending on several criteria, such as: vehicle emissions, vehicle type and tonnage, drivers’ profile, precise location and times of the day. Parkunload is the most cost-effective real-time Big Data platform for monitoring city logistics (loading patterns, occupancy levels) and optimising use of public and private parking spaces.



Passel is the world’s first genuinely crowdsourced home delivery company; a unique service where shoppers deliver on their way home to online shoppers, providing inexpensive, convenient and delightful on-demand deliveries for retailers. This means that, instead of professional or even part-time couriers carrying out deliveries, it will be people on their way home from the shops such as people working in the vicinity or regular shoppers. The user-friendly application service uses a combination of location awareness, predictive algorithms and behaviour analysis, to enable rapid on-demand deliveries via a sharing model, reducing traffic on our streets and emissions in our air while increasing community engagement.


Fernhay UPS

Fernhay and UPS are collaboratively developing an innovative delivery hub solution that uses underutilized space in city centres, from which UPS can dispatch Fernhays Breathe – 4 wheeled bicycle – and Air – a powered walker. By using bikes and walkers, accessibility is opened up, allowing operators to move around the city in ways previously not possible using mechanised standardised boxes across a range of assets.  The project aims to reduce vans from any area it is deployed, which in turn will reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and remove the challenge of curb side access.



WeDispatch use technology to improve the efficiency of delivery operations and strengthen brand-customer relationships. Their solution uses Urban Consolidation Centres (UCCs) and electric vehicles to reduce freight traffic and its impact on the environment in city centres. The UCC is used to receive large deliveries going into the city and re-distribute that delivery to electric vans, electric bicycles and possibly electric autonomous delivery vehicles. The electric vans will makes use of a Micro Hub while the final part of the delivery is completed by electric bicycles or autonomous delivery vehicles.


About Dublin’s Last Mile Delivery Challenge


Dublin’s Last Mile Delivery Challenge launched in February, 2018, and is the first all island joint SBIR between Dublin and Belfast.  Dublin City Council and Belfast City Council seek smart, low cost solutions to optimise freight and cargo deliveries in urban centres.


Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

 Enterprise Ireland’s SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) programme is a pre commercial procurement initiative.  The aim of SBIR is to drive innovation across all sections of the Irish Public Sector via robust engagement with technology rich companies and organisations, through competitive challenges.


For further information, contact:

Dublin City Council Media Relations Office T. (01) 222 2170, M. 087 740 0277

Belfast City Council Press Office T: +44 28 9027 0221

Jamie Cudden Smart City Programme Manager, Dublin City Council T: 0877835411

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