Road trip to Sochi

Published on 9th November 2017

sochi arboretum

On Tuesday 14 November at 11am, entrepreneurs Mark Smyth and Michael Lazarev will embark on a 3,200 mile journey to Cheltenham’s twin city of Sochi, Russia.

They will take with them a letter of greetings from the Mayor of Cheltenham to the Mayor of Sochi.

Mark and Michael will be gathering data on their novel on-board diagnostic device. When proven successful, the micro-computer will be able to be used in industries such as agriculture, security, medicine and transport logistics.

Chief executive officer of NE1Connect, Mark Smyth says: “We will be testing a British concept that we worked on - a collaboration between NE1Connect and Profit-Audit of Sochi.

Our diagnostic device uses microchips developed in the UK, which are much more powerful than the computers that ran the NASA Apollo missions. But it uses very little electricity and can run off solar power to obtain and process information from numerous sensors connected to it.”

Michael Lazarev, chief information officer of Profit-Audit and native of Sochi, said: “This is an amazing example of Russian and British collaboration. We are pleased to be able to deliver a letter of warm greetings from the Mayor of Cheltenham to the Mayor of Sochi.

“We are keen to finalise our production model and conduct tests in real-life environments. The road trip will enable us to see how well the hardware and algorithms adapt to various conditions in rural and urban environments. We hope that people will be interested to follow our road-trip and track us. You can watch our progress live on Facebook.”

The team’s journey will see their first stop at Silverstone's F1 circuit, proceeding to Bruges and onto Magdeburg in Germany, Berlin, Warsaw, Lithuania, Latvia before entering Russia. The journey will finish at the Sochi Autodrom by late November.

Annette Wight, twinning officer for Cheltenham Borough Council, continues: “We are delighted to give our support to this venture and hope this will raise awareness of our link with Sochi and that it may be the start of other fruitful exchanges and dialogues between the two towns.

“Cheltenham is a place of ambition and we will be sending them off with a letter to the Mayor of Sochi expressing our wish for continued co-operation between the two towns. We wish Mark and Michael a safe trip.”

Both Michael and Mark will be broadcasting live, interactive sessions along the route using Facebook.

Michael also teaches in Sochi Programming School, and during the journey will be broadcasting his lessons over Skype. 

For media enquiries please contact: Jemima Lawson, communications officer, telephone 01242 775 050 email