In what is the festival’s 25th year, the Future Lab provides a showcase for how the future of transport could look with a number of exhibitors displaying what they hope will be a big part of lives going forward.
Visitors can also try out a number of virtual reality activities from a rollercoaster experience to a BBC-commissioned space walk or exploring how art can work when using a 3D space.
Lord March visited the Future Lab and took his time meeting a number of the exhibitors, including award-winning photographer Benedict Redgrove, who was given unprecedented access to NASA and is showing images that have never been seen in public before.
Redgrove has two years left of his nine-year project to shoot NASA’s facilities, suits, crafts and robotic concepts and has photographed the items on a special camera called an Alpa, which allows him to shoot in super high-definition – up to 600 mega pixels, compared with an average camera’s 12-24 mega pixels.
He said: “I have photographed so many amazing things as part of this project. Robotics is just one area but it’s fascinating because it paves the way for future missions to explore moons, planets and other masses in our universe, but it’s also starting to become part of our daily lives here on Earth.
The centrepiece of the Future Lab is the ROBOCAR. The world’s first driverless electric racing vehicle, it is designed for taking part in ROBORACE, a motorsport championship for autonomously driving, electrically powered vehicles on Formula E circuit.
Potentially coming to the skies near you are the likes of the NeoXCraft, a private luxury flying road vehicle in the quadrocopter style, or the supersonic planes of Boom Supersonic, who are making an airline capable of flying to New York in 3hrs15mins while being efficient enough to make ticket prices affordable.
Away from the lab itself, US racing drone manufacturer Thrust UAV is showcasing its Riot 250R Pro racing drones at a special new area of the FoS, with pro pilots doing demo races and allowing visitors to the Festival to have a go themselves, with assistance from the professional operators.
Joe Egusquiza, Director of Business Operations at PCS Edventures and Thrust UAV, said: “Drone racing is like games consoles on steroids. It gets kids outdoors and away from the computer screen and it’s an activity that really suits every member of the family but still has that speed and thrill factor.”