£2.6m support

Transport defect detector secures funding

European train rail network, ASI, Rock Rail
Technology provides ground mapping

A company that has devised technology to help detect engineering faults on the transport network, has secured a £2.6m investment led by Par Equity.

The funding for Machines With Vision will support product development, sales growth, and the hire of engineers.  

The firm uses sensors installed on the underside of vehicles such as trains to enable network operators to detect defects. It counts Deutsche Bahn and Network Rail among its clients.

Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund, former Skyscanner CEO and co-founder Gareth Williams, and Olaf Hesse, one of the company’s commercial team, are also participating in the funding round. 

Anthony Ashbrook, CEO and co-founder of Machines With Vision, said: “We are at the forefront of using data to radically improve the efficiency of railways and on the back of this investment round, we’re excited to bring more people on board to deliver on this vision. Transport accounts for almost a quarter of global CO2 emissions, so moving travel by air and road to railways is essential for sustainability”

Aidan MacMillan, senior investment manager at Par Equity said: “The fact that two of Europe’s largest railway infrastructure players are already using the technology developed by Machines With Vision gives you an idea of how far Anthony and his team have already progressed, and we are really pleased to be supporting the company through its next phase of growth and the commercial opportunities opening up for the business.” 

Machines With Vision’s technology can geo-locate infrastructure measurement data with better than 10cm accuracy rates, across the entirety of a railway network, including the areas where Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals are poor or unavailable. The company calls this new capability Mobile Sensor Data Mapping and it has applications beyond railways. 

In 2018, the company began a two-year technology trial on Network Rail’s New Measurement Train and in 2021, the company’s technology was procured for two new Network Rail diagnostic trains, with the fleet being further expanded in 2022.

In 2019, Machines With Vision entered into a commercial contract with Deutsche Bahn’s diagnostic train division, Fahrwegmessung, to improve the quality of their geo-spatial data. 

Machines With Vision is one of the startup and scale-up technology companies featuring at Turing Fest’s Level Up career event for tech professionals, being held on Saturday 26th March at the Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh. 

The company was founded in 2016 by Mr Ashbrook, Tim Lukins and Jan Wessitzer, with PhDs in robotics and vision; and Matt Farrugia, who as well as being our first investor, brings valuable commercial expertise. Mr Ashbrook has over 20 years’ experience in computer vision and has been a founding member of four start-ups.

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