Arup Ventures provides funding and support to develop and commercialise new technologies that can solve recurring problems in the built environment.
We explore concepts for products, digital tools and new businesses, before taking them to market with carefully selected industry partners.
Through lightbulb moments and strategic enquiry, we uncover challenges and pain points and find elegant solutions to them. Arup Ventures is our way to push technical boundaries and harness the firm’s wide skill set in ways that take our industry forward.
Innovation in action
Learn more about some of our Ventures by clicking the links in the cityscape below.
All electricity grids have to cope with peak demand, and struggle when demand increases without warning. Energy grid operators would benefit from a more sophisticated range of options to respond to changes in peak demand. IDOS is an intelligent demand control technology for consumers that makes this possible.
Once connected ‘behind the meter’ in your home, IDOS can make intelligent decisions about whether to draw power from the grid, store energy in the battery, or supply energy back into the grid (if you have solar panels), all without any input from the homeowner. The technology is a joint-venture, being developed by Arup subsidiary Networked Electricity Storage Technology Limited, with input from our energy systems, energy advisory, electrical engineering, building performance and systems, resilience and security teams.
Air conditioning systems involve design trade-offs between cost, energy use, and space requirements. They’re also often complex to install, commission and maintain. We designed Artus to be a low-energy, low-profile air conditioning unit that overcomes these issues.
Artus combines the best features of fan coil units (FCUs) and active chilled beams, providing high performance whilst saving energy, money and space. Its shallow profile makes it ideal for refurbishment projects or in new-builds where space is constrained.
The multi-award winning product was a collaboration between our MEP, lighting, controls, building performance and systems, acoustics, cost consulting, facilities management, and product design teams.
There is a desire, and increasingly an obligation, for cities to de-carbonise public transport and reduce reliance on diesel as a fuel. All-electric buses may be a viable option, but their technical and commercial viability has yet to be tested in demanding, real-world environments.
eFIS (eFleet Integrated Service) is an enabling company set up by Arup to deliver electric bus services to cities. Its first project is a trial in Milton Keynes - a collaboration with partners such as Wrightbus, Arriva, The University of Cambridge, Western Power Distribution and IPT-Technology. For a period of five years, eight buses will run a demanding and continuous route across the city, collecting data to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of low-carbon public transport, and in doing so helping to kick-start electric bus projects in other towns and cities worldwide.
Developed in 2011 for the first generation of electric vehicles and ultimately sold to Qualcomm, Halo IPT is a recharging system that uses wireless induction technology to overcome the issues of charging cables haphazardly running over pavements and roads.
Being wireless, Halo IPT’s charging pads are able to transfer charge over a distance of roughly 400mm, meaning an electric vehicle can be charged without having to plug in a cable. Our vision is that pads could be installed at intervals along a road, as well as at traffic lights and on car parking spaces, meaning that a vehicle would never need to stop to charge. As the market for electric vehicles gathers momentum these kinds of ideas will need to be part of how the road infrastructure is redesigned.
Existing train control systems are infrastructure-heavy and hugely expensive to install and maintain.
Acorn is a New York Main Transit Authority (MTA) Genius Challenge finalist, a radical rethink in train-to-train communication, reducing reliance on radio. The simplification of hardware and software components can cut out cost whilst supporting a commuter service when radio communications are down. Increased on-board data helps drivers to respond to real-time route conditions, increasing network throughput and reducing traveller delays. We also designed Acorn to overlay on existing networks, enabling a seamless transition from old systems to new.
Construction sites can be noisy, dirty and unattractive for local residents, often for extended periods. Vertical Meadow is an award-winning, Arup-designed green hoarding system that’s cost-effective and makes any construction site a better neighbour.
The façade grows from seeds in-situ, avoiding the costs of pre-planting off-site. Vertical Meadow, developed in conjunction with Design Law Limited, is a collaboration between Arup experts in facades, fire, ecology, environmental consulting, and air quality.
Geothermal energy is an attractive form of renewable heat: low-carbon, resilient and price-stable. But the capital costs are high, meaning it often gets discounted as a design option.
Geon Energy Limited is a joint venture between Arup and Geothermal Engineering Ltd, which offers a simple way to provide geothermal heat to residential blocks, apartments, university campuses and leisure centres. Geon Energy can finance, plan, design, install and operate deep geothermal systems, providing an attractive, end-to-end package for building developers. The Geon system requires only a single drilled well, and the installation process is simple and lower cost than other geothermal systems.
Have you ever struggled to sleep on a summer night because your open window lets in too much noise? Building regulations are making it increasingly difficult for residential developments to rely on natural ventilation when external noise levels are high.
SAFE (the Sound Attenuating Façade Element) is a window which can be opened to let fresh air in but keep noise out. The façade uses an intelligent combination of materials and geometry to remove acoustic energy from the air. The result is quieter rooms with better ventilation.
The project is a collaboration between our façades, acoustics, MEP, product design and architecture experts.
Sometimes, installing a much-needed footbridge is made difficult by limited access or harsh environmental conditions. Arup designed arcoBridge (also marketed by Mabey Bridge as ‘Pedesta’) - a lightweight Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic (GFRP) modular and low-cost footbridge system, inspired by dinghy hull manufacture. 1m length modules are post-tensioned together to form a large range of span lengths suitable for rail, road and river crossings.
Being lightweight it can reuse existing foundations and offers insulation from overhead lines. The bridge system was developed by our materials, structures, rail and product design teams, and it won the 2017 South West Built Environment Award and the BRE Constructing Excellence Award.