Co-founder of The Floow
With the Peak District National Park accounting for a third of the city’s area, and more trees per person than any other city in Europe, Sheffield is gaining a reputation as the “Outdoor City”, a place that provides the best in city living and healthy, active lifestyles.
This, along with an historic commitment to sport-driven social and economic development and several Queen’s Award winning mobility-tech companies, has led to a huge range of research and commercial activity around the technology of movement – from the transport of goods and people, to large-scale flow-sensing, assistive technologies, active travel, autonomous vehicles and robotics.
The Floow was founded in 2012 through an idea by Aldo Monteforte, who joined forces with academics from the University of Sheffield to bring his concept to life. Their ambition was to make vehicles safer and smarter by making better use of movement data and insights from the social sciences to change driver behaviour and lower the risks on our roads. They have done so via products like FloowDrive, which uses the smartphone as a sensor for generating telematics data on a driver's behaviour via an app, allowing insurers to accurately assess the risk of that driver. It also encourages the user to make improvements to their driving to increase road safety. In doing so, over the last seven years the company has significantly disrupted the global telematics industry and now has insurance customers across five continents, with a presence in Italy, the USA and China in addition to their global HQ in Sheffield.
From its roots as a fledgling web development agency in the early 2000s, 3Squared has grown to become a major player in the digital railway solutions market, providing a range of software to the industry via its RailSmart suite of applications, covering areas such as train operations, compliance, safety and performance monitoring.
The firm is now increasingly involved in the use of machine learning and data analytics to make performance gains, for example by analysing weather and foliage data from satellites to reduce “wheel flats” caused by trains skidding on wet leaves.
Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (the AWRC) is located at the Olympic Legacy Park, site of the former Don Valley Stadium. It is the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world, providing state-of-the-art, fully instrumented indoor and outdoor laboratories and a team of over 70 researchers delivering collaborative research projects. The centre aims to leverage the University’s decades of sports and movement science into the realms of preventative healthcare and active lifestyles, further reinforcing Sheffield’s reputation as the ‘Outdoor City’. Find out more about the AWRC on this dedicated page.
Sheffield Robotics is a joint research collaboration between the two Sheffield universities, set up to pursue responsible, ethical robotics research, and pioneer new products and processes that will transform manufacturing, healthcare, infrastructure and many other aspects of human activity and being. This research currently involves over 100 academics across the city, and traces its history back to the establishment of the AI Vision Research Unit (AIVRU) in the 1970s, set up to develop computer vision systems that exploited the principles underlying human vision. Sheffield Robotics now sits at the heart of a flourishing robotics industry in the city, with spin-outs such as Consequential Robotics and Ibex Automation, as well as recent arrivals like Bossanova.