HS2 Ltd has announced the first five cutting-edge tech firms that will join the Innovation Accelerator initiative. They were selected from 109 applicants to the programme and will receive commercial and technical support from the Innovation Accelerator together with rent-free working space as they develop their technology to help deliver the high-speed railway project.
Focussing on HS2’s innovation challenges such as the productivity the environment and the circular economy, all five will start their HS2 development work in September.
The five selected companies are:
Buildots has developed wearable camera technology that uses Artificial Intelligence and state-of-the-art computer vision to automate the tracking of build progress compared to the design and schedule, while reducing and resolving disputes. Buildots employs 40 people.
Cloudcycle developed technology to optimise the amount of concrete needed to build HS2. Sensors fitted inside cement mixer drums form part of an “internet of things” solution that learns the properties and qualities of the concrete it is mixing. By enabling real time data management for reliable concrete delivery, on Phase One Cloudcycle’s technology could reduce concrete demand by up to 420,000 tonnes. The technology cuts carbon emissions by 50million kg and water consumption by 2.6m litres. The company has 10 employees.
Dendra Systems’ cutting-edge drone and Artificial Intelligence platform could help to both plant and monitor the 140-mile (225-km) green corridor of 7 million trees and shrubs HS2 will create between the West Midlands and London. The solution combines aerial and AI based technologies that will learn to identify the 46 tree species planted along the route and assess whether they are thriving or are in need of help such as improving land condition or invasive weed mitigation. The company has a staff of 30 people.
After six months of development inside the Accelerator the companies’ solutions will be showcased and pitched to industry investors and HS2’s supply chain, consisting of the thousands of companies ranging from the largest international engineers to specialist suppliers to the project.
“HS2 is already showcasing the very best of British skills and innovation, and the five companies shortlisted for the Innovation Accelerator today are shining examples of this. The size and scale of this project creates the perfect environment to encourage innovation and develop technologies that can create long-term business opportunities both in and beyond the rail and construction sectors,” HS2 Ltd’s head of innovation, Howard Mitchell said.
HS2 has now opened the Innovation Accelerator online portal to the second round of applications and is looking for small and medium sized firms specialising in the areas of process efficiencies and passenger experience through HS2 stations.