“When you go to buy a new car, you immediately encounter a problem,” says Darren Jobling. “You never get to see the actual car you’re buying, and you have to imagine a red interior or a different vehicle colour. We solve this age-old issue.”
Jobling is the founder of ZeroLight, which creates virtual reality technology for the automotive industry. Clients include Audi, Toyota and Lexus, and the firm generates most of its revenue from outside the UK.
“Most of our 75-strong staff are devoted to R&D,” says Jobling. “We have relationships with all the virtual reality hardware makers so we know what’s coming next.” The mathematics involved in generating a virtual image is mind-boggling, he reveals: “There are more possible configurations than there are grains of sand on earth.”
Being based in Newcastle has been a real strength. “There’s a real culture of innovation here.”