Personal drones delivering groceries and parcels could be the solution for London’s congested streets, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said.
Speaking during a visit to Singapore, where he is leading a FinTech delegation promoting London’s financial technology start-ups and entrepreneurs, he called for the companies to focus on developing technology to address to the UK capital's ever worsening traffic jams.
"We have a problem, folks,” Johnson said. “All this Internet shopping is leading to a massive increase in white van traffic dropping this stuff off – 45 per cent it's going to go up in London in the next seven years. That's going to be terrible for congestion in our city and doubtless the same will be true of Singapore as well.”
He proposed that Londoners should be offered personal drones controlled by a smartphone app, enabling them to collect their shopping remotely and deliver it to wherever they wish to.
The challenge may seem unusual for the FinTech companies, who are known for pushing the boundaries in financial technology, allowing for simpler, easier and cheaper transactions.
However, research commissioned by London and Partners ahead of the event showed that more than half of senior executives believed London was the best spot in the world to pioneer such technology.
"London has always been at the forefront of financial innovation and now our financiers are leading another global revolution, this time driven by technological innovations that are changing the way the world does business, creating new jobs and economic growth both in the UK and in the other financial centres of the world,” Johnson said praising the sector.
During the Singapore tour, Johnson launched a local branch of London accelerator Startupbootcamp that will offer guidance and support to new local companies with the aim to reinforce cooperation between London and the booming Asian micro-state.
"Over the last 12 months the Startupbootcamp team has visited south-east Asia on several occasions,” said Nektarios Liolios, the firm's managing director.
"We have been impressed by the quality and innovation levels of the start-ups we have encountered,” he said, adding that Singapore’s high concentration of investors, financial institutions and mentors makes it an ideal innovation hub.
In addition to the FinTech event, Johnson also saw a demonstration of innovative apps, including Vieweet, which allows shoppers to browse a store online by virtually walking down aisles and looking at products on the shelf.