Impression of an HS2 train

UK: High speed line project promoter HS2 Ltd has launched the fifth round of its Innovation Accelerator programme, focusing on the use of artificial intelligence and advanced sensing technology to drive cost and carbon efficiencies across the construction programme.

The five SMEs in the new cohort will be based at the main civil works contractors’ operations hubs for the first time.

They are:

Silicon Microgravity, a SME spun out from University of Cambridge research which is developing non-invasive gravity sensors to identify underground hazards which could be deployed for ground investigation surveys and utility diversion planning.

EHAB which is developing hyper-local weather forecasting and using AI to optimise daily works schedules according to when or if rain is due, reducing weather-related delays.

Immense Simulations will further develop its AI-based strategic and operational transport planning tool to de-risk the effects of works traffic on local road networks, and plan for the future effects that HS2 stations could have on traffic movements.

Consequence has developed carbon accounting technology that illustrates the full carbon content of construction materials.

Mafic is developing technology to enhance productivity and protect delivery schedules.

‘We’ve brought in a cohort of tech firms from outside the construction sector to introduce new thinking and ways of working, which we hope can drive efficiencies across all the HS2 programme’s phases’, said HS2 Ltd Innovation Manager Jon Kelly on December 8.

‘In addition, we want to see value added to UK plc by helping small, innovative businesses to develop their technology and grow their businesses by providing opportunities to tap into the huge construction industry.’