Home » HS2 adds five firms to Innovation Accelerator programme

HS2 adds five firms to Innovation Accelerator programme

by Liam Turner
rising digital arrows on a train track

HS2 Ltd has added five construction and technology firms to its Innovation Accelerator programme.

Initiatives with a focus on AI, wearable technology, and decarbonisation are among the latest batch to join the scheme.

Each of the five firms were chosen to develop techniques for designing carbon out of the railway and to monitor and improve site safety and security.

HS2 has set a commitment to reduce the carbon impact of construction on the project by 50%, as well as delivering low-carbon journeys and cutting carbon emissions from other forms of transport.

HS2 Ltd also wanted to promote new and diverse thinking by focusing on small digital and data technology firms and building strategic partnerships with diversity-focused entrepreneurial SMEs.

It put in place measures to champion equality, diversity, and inclusion, such as assessing applications blind and anonymously.

As a result, two of the five SMEs have female CEOs or founders, and three hav CEOs or founders from BAME backgrounds.

Commenting on the scheme, HS2 Ltd Innovation manager Rob Cairns said: “With the third cohort intake, we focused on reaching a diverse range of businesses who we believe can bring fresh thinking and a new perspective to our mission of reducing HS2’s carbon footprint and improving the health and safety of our teams, as well as the security of our worksites.”

The five firms


Looper is developing technology that analyses designs to ensure that the plans and materials use the least-carbon intensive options.

HS2 believes the technology can be refined on Phase One of the project and deployed across later phases.

Founder Yiqiang Zhao said: “It’s a great opportunity for us to help HS2 contractors automate carbon tracking and calculations through the design and build. In the four months of the programme, we hope to secure a pilot project and seek fundraising.”


FYLD’s technology uses AI, language processing, and machine learning to inform site teams’ safety, quality, and productivity decisions.

The solution’s safety features include high-risk job alerts and proactive fatigue management.

FYLD CEO Shelley Copsey said: “We are confident that, as the UK accelerates the progress of one of the most exciting transport projects in Europe, our technology will have a transformative impact on field workers and rail businesses alike.”


MachineMax, recently acquired by Shell, is developing technology to monitor and improve the operating efficiency of worksite plant and machinery.

It will identify where assets are working below capacity in order to cut emissions, accelerate works programmes and reduce costs.

A key feature of MachineMax’s software is that it is ‘agnostic’, meaning it can be used on any make of site equipment. 

MachineMax CEO Shweta Saxena said: “Our goal is to integrate MachineMax across the HS2 digital ecosystem and connect the entirety of the fleet to monitor and improve on-site emissions and efficiency.”

Sensing Feeling

Sensing Feeling’s solution for de-risking construction sites uses advanced sensing software powered by computer vision and machine learning to detect how people, machines, and vehicles behave in real-time.

Founder Jag Minhas said: “We’re looking forward to working with potential ecosystem clients and cohort collaborators to accelerate the use of advanced sensing products to make places safer for workers and customers.”


Tended, which aims to develop wearable technology for worksite teams, works to improve worksite safety practices with a buzz to alert the wearer to a potential risk.

In addition, by feeding the risk alerts back to a central database, the programme can build a site map and identify if hotspots are occurring so that the repeated risk can be remedied.

Founder Leo Scott Smith said: “Working with HS2, we believe that Tended’s blend of technological capability and deep understanding of human behaviour can revolutionise site safety for HS2 and its supply chain.”

Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

Read next: HS2 joint venture picks Zutec to deliver ‘Digital BIM Blueprint’

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