Thought flying cars were a distant reality? Think again. Meet Ricky Sandhu, the Founder and Director of Six Miles Across London (small.), the pioneering company leading the innovative infrastructure that will enable future of mobility.
We caught up with Ricky to find out what inspired small., the challenges it is working to overcome and its mission.
Tell us about Small – what’s your mission?
Our mission at Small is to drive innovation in the built environment. We’re providing the infrastructure that will support zero emissions future mobility systems.
What drives you?
Fundamentally, what drives me is the prospect of creating a better world. The key thing for me is to use the skills I have and the team that I’ve assembled to improve the quality of life for people across the globe. Whilst we’re focussed on cities and urban centres right now, in the future I believe that our technology and solutions will greatly enhance social equity in parts of the world where there are greater challenges. This continues to drive me forward.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
The team that we’ve assembled is made up of some truly amazingly talented people. To have created that is something I’m really proud of and continue to take care of – they are what I call my “master-mind”and collectively we are pioneering the future of mobility.
What are the challenges you face?
Current legislation and regulation will certainly be one of the challenges. We’re working closely with regulatory and legislative bodies to ensure we’re not slaves to regulation – if we are to make a meaningful dent towards our net zero ambitions, regulation must be the slave to innovation.
What are you working on that’s getting you fired up and excited?
The most exciting project at the moment is the Air One programme, building the world’s first fully operational urban airport. This is the infrastructure that will unlock future passenger air taxis, autonomous aerial vehicles and will enable all the great benefits of autonomous aerial cargo services. It will have an immediate impact in response to some of the challenges of climate change and help to enable a cleaner, more efficient transport future.
How is what you are doing inspiring change in others?
Every day I see the work we are doing inspiring change within our team. I think if you’d asked some of our senior members, they’d say they’ve grown considerably more in the last year and a half or so, as a part of our group, than they have in their former corporate lives – and this is great to see!
On a smaller scale, I’ve also seen first-hand how the work we’ve been doing is inspiring the younger generation and beyond. My 10-year-old is seeing what we’re doing and is telling his friends about flying cars, then his friends are getting excited about it and telling their parents, who are also getting excited about it! It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm build around the projects we are working so hard on.
Can you recommend a life – or game-changing book for our readers?
The Jersey. It’s a book about New Zealand’s rugby team and their journey to winning the world cup. It highlights that you’re not going to be successful unless everyone “does their job well” to pull together as one and highlights the importance of humility.
What do you listen to when you’re cooking dinner?
We normally have quite hectic days, particularly with the kids running around. So, when we’re cooking, we have a jam box which we put on immediately. Recently we’ve been listening to some really cool Indian music, with only an acoustic guitar – it’s really awesome and very relaxing. Check out Suraj Jagan if you have a chance!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Norman Foster once told me that if you don’t look around the corner, you won’t know what’s there. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know and tackle the world by being inquisitive.
Can you leave us with who’d be your Eco Hero?
I’d have to go back to my architectural roots and say Frederick Law Olmsted. He was responsible for delivering one of the greatest and most famous pieces of green infrastructure in modern history, Central Park in Manhattan. He recognised the necessity to improve people’s lives by creating a huge, green, open space to let people breathe and relax. Central Park is an example of how many financial, economic, social and environmental benefits can derive from one single intervention.
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