Government offers £7.9m funding for rail tech innovators
The Government is offering companies a slice of a £7.9m funding pot for the development of new technology to improve the UK’s rail network.
The next round of the Accelerating Innovation in Rail (AIR) scheme, run by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Innovate UK, is calling on businesses to help improve the railway experience for passengers.
Lightweight energy-saving carriages, software that alerts passengers to busy incoming trains, and a system that predicts when potential breakdowns might occur are among the projects to have won funding in previous rounds.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “We want to see ideas that improve reliability on the network for passengers. We have a wealth of pioneering, innovative companies out there ready to put their ideas into practice.
“This is about nurturing innovation on the railways and about developing trains that are less reliant on complex and expensive infrastructure.”
He continued: “We want to tap into these inventive and ground-breaking ideas for the benefit of rail passengers across the country, and to support the biggest modernisation programme in rail since the Victorian era.”
The launch of the AIR scheme’s latest round came as Trainline, the ticket retailer and train travel app, announced plans for a new tool enabling travellers to see when Advance ticket prices will increase.
DfT said the competition is open any sized firm, but all entries must be collaborative and involve at least two organisations, one of which must be an SME.
AIR entries will be accepted from September 18 to November 15.