Between September and December, Connected Places Catapult closely collaborated with Eurotunnel and its rolling stock department to support an open-innovation process. We helped match Eurotunnel with UK businesses that had railway innovation solutions that could help overcome the transport firm’s challenges.
We were asked by Eurotunnel to help them tap into the UK innovation ecosystem. In October, 38 UK and French companies applied to the Eurotunnel open call to boost their rolling stock infrastructure with predictive maintenance solutions. Then, after a thorough selection process, the Eurotunnel rolling stock experts selected six UK companies to join an open innovation event in Calais in November.
Those six UK companies offering a variety of innovations were Acoustic Sensor Networks, InfoGrid, Metasphere, Perpetuum, Ubipos and Velocity RDT.
These British companies competed against 12 French companies for the chance to establish an exclusive partnership with Eurotunnel experts to deploy and fine tune their solutions on Eurotunnel’s infrastructure. The event was a huge success with half our delegation awarded for their innovation — an excellent outcome for UK Plc.
The railway solutions innovation open day gave our companies the chance to meet with the Eurotunnel rolling stock experts to discuss the technical details of their solutions, explore use cases for Eurotunnel and talk about what a collaboration would look like (deployment, costs etc.). The companies also pitched in front of a wider audience, including the vice president of GetLink (Eurotunnel’s mother company), other department directors, academics, partners of Eurotunnel and other providers.
Velocity RDT is an IoT technology company providing unique predictive fatigue monitoring solutions that Eurotunnel is keen to test it in the tunnel environment. InfoGrid is an IoT company offering turnkey solutions designed to seamlessly retrofit any infrastructure and existing equipment in seconds, lowering costs and reducing waste. Eurotunnel liked the simplicity of their solution and is keen to see its potential impact on its rolling stock.Velocity RDT and InfoGrid were both awarded an exclusive open innovation partnership with Eurotunnel to start deploying their tech on their rolling stock and a team assigned to support the development of their solutions.
Though not awarded on the day, Perpetuum also impressed with their off-the-shelf solutions that do not need further experimentation and can be sold immediately.
Congratulations to the UK delegation! We will be following up with those companies so watch this space for further updates. Get in touch with Nadia Echchihab if you’d like to know more about this project.
“It was a real pleasure to work with the Catapult on our Open Innovation call for projects. Initially, we were unsure the start-up ecosystem could address our specific rail-related challenges but the Catapult provided us with quality applications that exceeded our expectations. Two out of the three awarded companies came from their network! We felt well supported along this adventure and everything was simple, smooth and positive. A good result for the first Eurotunnel startup-dedicated initiative paving the way for future actions.”
By Marie-Sophie Patois, Project Manager and training development at Eurotunnel.