Helping If.Vehicles Secure £750k Investment

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Richard Howarth
3 mins

The If.Micro is a versatile last mile delivery vehicle that can potentially eliminate pollution and congestion in urban areas. We helped its inventor, If.Vehicles, take a unique concept to prototype.

If.Vehicles has developed the If.Micro to be ridden on the road as a light quadricycle and pulled and manoeuvred as a trolley in pedestrian areas. At home it can be folded up to make it easier to store and recharged ready for the next day or shift.

Widespread deployment of the If.Micro could potentially remove four in every five delivery vans from the roads, reducing delivery costs and increasing capacity while cutting emissions from the logistics and courier sectors.

Mechanical engineering and design lecturer Ben Clarke, from LBSU’s School of Engineering, began working with If.Vehicles in April 2019, supporting the company by prototyping its micro-vehicle concept and refining the design following results of live testing.

How If.Vehicle has benefitted from collaboration with LSBU

Ben Clarke's efforts have created tangible value for If.Vehicles, which is seeking to commercialise its technology through licensing deals and agreements with major users and established industry manufacturers/distributors in the UK, Europe and other markets.

As a result of his efforts Ben is recognised as a co-inventor on a piece of IP regarding one aspect of the design, while work on a second piece of IP is already underway.

“Without the support of Ben and LSBU numerous opportunities to display our prototype to industry experts would have been missed which would have had a negative effect on the securing of the IP.

Other Benefits

  • Ben’s involvement has helped If.Vehicles secure a recent investment commitment of £750,000, while his first prototype secured a separate £18,000 investment for the company.
  • Having a prototype helped If to secure collaboration meetings with Royal Mail and the Department for Transport (DfT).
  • His design input has resulted in a micro-vehicle that could achieve energy savings equivalent to all the energy consumption of all households (55,400) in the city of Oxford (according to data obtained from the 2011 census and the DfT).

The Process

Ben began by using physical 1:1 models and specific attribute or form studies.

This work then progressed to CAD-based prototyping, which allowed faster turnaround times whilst adding flexibility to adapt designs rapidly.

Both physical and virtual prototypes were created, helping showcase how the vehicle would operate. This work enabled If.Vehicles to secure IP.

Ben also offered insight into product performances and environmental impact by way of data lead research, presented as findings to the DfT as part of discussions around collaboration and implementation.

“Thankfully Ben's unique skillset allowed us to push forward with the development of both the product and the business as a whole.” [Andrew Hodgson, co-founder If.Vehicles]