Five UK-based cutting-edge tech firms join HS2 Innovation Accelerator initiative

The company delivering Britain’s new high speed rail network has today (Monday 9 November 2020) announced the names of the five new cutting-edge tech firms that will join HS2 Ltd’s Innovation Accelerator programme.

The HS2 Railway Innovation Accelerator is a partnership between Connected Places Catapult, HS2 Ltd, the company building Britain’s new high-speed railway and Innovation Birmingham, the leading location for Birmingham’s digital and tech community.

Focussing on HS2’s innovation challenges of driving innovation in construction and enhancing passengers’ station experience, the five – chosen from 118 applicants to the programme – will receive commercial and technical support, plus rent-free working space, as they develop their technology to help deliver Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

All five firms start their HS2 development work in November, and will continue to work through to March 2021.

After four months of development inside the Accelerator, the firms’ 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.

Introducing the second cohort to HS2’s Accelerator programme, HS2 Ltd innovation manager Rob Cairns said:

“We are drawing on the very best of British innovation and skills to ensure the UK’s investment in HS2 not only delivers an outstanding high speed rail network, but also builds a sound economic legacy that generates prosperity after the railway’s construction is complete.

“HS2 is already providing thousands of contract opportunities for businesses around Britain, creating thousands of jobs. These five firms are at the forefront of the innovative ideas, and we look forward to working with them to realise their ambitions.”

Five companies chosen:

Digital Rail 

Digital Rail is developing technology that helps to provide independence to passengers with a mobility impairment arriving at stations. Its RailSightAssist is an app-based computer vision solution that detects wheelchairs, bicycles, pushchairs, heavy luggage, partially sighted or blind passengers when they arrive and alerts station staff to provide assistance.

Digital Rail managing director Howard Parkinson, said: “Digital Rail is always looking at what is coming over the horizon, for solutions to our current problems and business opportunities that will make the railway better for all, which is why we are so excited to be taking part in this programme with HS2.”


Hypervine’s app-based technology enables construction contractors to become more agile by quantifying through a single “dashboard” work across site activities and to compare actual performance against planned work, and identify where efficiencies can be made, generating both cost and carbon savings.

Hypervine founder & CEO Paul Duddy said: “Being accepted on to the HS2 Accelerator programme is a significant milestone for Hypervine and as one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects is a perfect fit for Hypervine technology.”

Rail Diary

Rail Diary creates digital site diaries and reporting software tailored to the rail construction industry. Site diaries are traditionally a very manually intensive process for those working on construction sites. The Rail Diary platform enables teams to complete daily reports throughout a shift, including photos and videos, then turns those reports into real-time actionable insights and comparative data.  By removing the communication lag between site and office, Rail Diary provides front-line staff with the tools they need to deliver projects more effectively.

Rail Diary Managing Director William Doyle said: “Rail Diary is delighted to be a part of the HS2 Accelerator scheme and looks forward to working with other cutting edge tech firms to address the HS2 innovation challenges.  We are excited to demonstrate how our user experience-focused approach to digital transformation will help deliver the UK’s premier infrastructure project.”

Grid Smarter Cities

Grid Smarter Cities technology could help HS2, its contractors and site personnel to better manage commercial freight movements and activities, especially in congested urban areas where efficient network and kerb space management is critical.

Grid Smarter Cities founder & CEO Neil Herron said: “Being part of the HS2 Accelerator represents a major achievement and opportunity for Grid, not only to be part of a world-class rail and infrastructure project but to help showcase the UK leading the way with technology and innovation.”

Open Space

Open Space’s technology can help better understand potential people flow in and around the world class HS2 stations.  The company’s pedestrian simulation and artificial intelligence decision models visualise pedestrian flows that can help improve customer experience, enhance safety and reduce asset management costs, as well as manage social distancing.

Open Space CEO Nicolas Le Glatin said: “We are looking forward to collaborating with HS2 to accelerate our cognitive, real-time digital twin technology, which puts passengers at the heart of decision making across the railway, from design to operation.”