Startup gets UK government Covid-19 backing
Developers of a revolutionary personal electric vehicle which reduces exposure to viruses like Covid-19 have been awarded a government grant of £50,000.
Centaur Robotics created a two-wheeled, self-balancing machine for the elderly or disabled that fits into the space of a dining chair and has a seat which rises up to eye-level.
It will eventually be rolled out into hospitals and care homes where it will eliminate the need for porters and safeguard patients and carers by limiting contact between them, stopping the spread of infections.
“This is a real vote of confidence in our technology.”Chris Hay, md of Centaur Robotics
It’s great news for Centaur Robotics, which has just launched its third investment phase, offering investors up to 23 per cent of the company in return for £1.5m.
Top ten finish
About 8,600 companies entered the competition set by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The competition was designed to encourage businesses to address issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. Eight hundred awards were made, putting Centaur Robotics in the top 10 per cent.
Care homes and hospitals using the Centaur will become more productive as less time will be spent pushing patients around. The Centaur also gives care home residents greater independence and is easy to clean, further reducing the chance of disease and virus transmission.
The Centaur will go into production later this year with the first models sold direct to consumers.
Using revolutionary technology, the sleek and lightweight personal electric vehicle (PEV) will challenge the way people think about mobility.
The Centaur is operated via a small joystick on the armrest or a mobile phone app and will be built in the UK. Low-profile, puncture-proof tyres, a tight turning circle and small footprint make pubs, restaurants and crowded pavements easy to negotiate.
Chris Hay, managing director of Centaur Robotics, said: “This is a real vote of confidence in our technology, our vision and our team. Future investors can see that we mean business and are on track. This is an exciting time for Centaur.
“We’re leading the way and really pleased that our work has been recognised and rewarded by Innovate UK.”
The £50,000 will be used to carry out further research into mobility within care homes and build a demonstrator based on those requirements. Centaur Robotics will also develop proposals for future partners.
Improve lives, make impact
The competition’s aim was to support the development of ambitious and innovative products and services which will help society or industry during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell, said: “The ideas we have seen can truly make a significant impact on society, improve the lives of individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups, and enable innovative businesses to prosper in challenging circumstances.”