image: Gravity Industries at aql

aql and NorthInvest bring future tech to Leeds students to inspire next generation of innovators

aql and NorthInvest brought British aeronautic pioneers Gravity Industries and its founder and Chief Test Pilot, Richard Browning, to Leeds Digital Festival yesterday to showcase continued leaps in human flight technology by flying their latest jet suit.

Prof. Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of aql and NorthInvest, said: “We must all be bold with our ambitions, whether this is as a student, an entrepreneur or a citizen. Richard and his team provide an exciting and real demonstration of what can be done with commitment and dedication. I’m hoping that seeing Richard fly will inspire our future young pioneers to follow their dreams.”

Gravity Industries has invented, built and filed patents for a human propulsion technology that reimagines manned flight.

The technology combines body-mounted miniaturised jet-engines with a specially designed exoskeleton, allowing vertical take-off and flight. The jet suit is pioneering an entirely new category in aviation history.

Adam continued, “This is a subject close to my heart. aql provides communication building blocks which support innovative tech companies and allow them to scale from startup to unicorn. My team at NorthInvest is dedicated to helping startups gain support for their ideas by providing access to business angel mentorship and seed funding.”

The flight is a celebration of the future of innovation and to mark the announcement of aql’s cross-regional initiative bringing together autonomous transport operators, the public sector, and innovative city stakeholders such as Citu, CitiPark and the University of Leeds to explore the next generation of transport technology. As part of this exploration, students will also be able to explore a driverless ‘POD’, created by British manufacturer Westfield Technology.

The POD, a four-seater shared transport vehicle, aims to offer sustainable transport for travellers in urban areas.

Julian Turner, Chief Executive Officer of Westfield Technology, said: “We’re excited to be at the forefront of developing this new transport mode, which, alongside innovative experts in mobile communications, will allow a greater level of accessibility, flexibility and safety in cities in the near future.”

Adam added, “We intend to work with Westfield and our other great partners to explore how to increase city efficiencies through joined-up innovation. Driverless vehicles are just the start – we want to show how 5G networks can be used to support the next generation of transport. For example, making sure that all vehicles are ‘flowing’ at the optimum speed into, out of, and around a city so as not to cause congestion.”

“A future city will run on time, all the time,” said Helen Oldham, founding Board Member of NorthInvest. “A future city is also full of smart companies working on this technology and the NorthInvest team is dedicated to enabling them to gain funding.”

For more information, visit www.gravity.co or www.northinvest.co.uk.