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Engineering and manufacturing of electrical equipment and industrial automated systems
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British Airways i-360

Design and implementation of electrical equipment and automated systems


Date of completion
Brighton I360 ltd
Infrastructure - tourism


Customer stakes:

To boost the tourist activity of Brighton, a seaside resort, by creating a strong symbol in front of the historic West Pear.

Imagined by the creators of the famous London Ferris wheel “LONDON EYE” – architects David MARKS and Julia BARFIELD – the British Airways i-360 is the highest ascension observation tower in the world. From a height of 160 meters, this vertical cable car offers a unique 20-minute experience.

Technical challenge:

To create a transport system that is unique in the world from a blank page

Our mission on this project: to imagine construction methods, define an atypical regulatory framework, implement and obtain qualification in record time.


This unique project in the world mobilized all SEMER’s departments for no less than a year and a half, for a commissioning in a record time of only 5 months.


In partnership with the control firm JACOBS, the regulatory framework was built and adapted to this unique project. SEMER participated in the safety analyses of the system, and then developed the safety automated systems of the tower, winches and vehicle.


The tower was pre-equipped by SEMER teams in Holland, before it was transported by barge to Brighton for erection. The pod equipment (the cabin can accommodate 200 people) was installed at SIGMA in France during pre-assembly, before the first on-site work was launched in January 2016.

The SEMER Solution:

High fashion solutions for an outstanding project

SEMER ensured the entire design of the electrical parts, from the main motorization to the on-board automated systems in the pod, including the control system of the driving station and the radio remote transmission systems.


Like the project, the design was part of a very specific and totally innovative visionary approach. Solidly based on the know-how and experience of its engineers, it has also given priority to the reliability required to transport millions of passengers per year.


A unique electrical distribution system has been designed to power an 18-metre diameter cabin capable of accommodating 200 passengers in the greatest comfort (air conditioning, high-tech audiovisual environment, festive lighting, etc.). All this, in motion along a tower 3.50 m in diameter and 160 m high, in a salty and humid environment!


The automated system, which manages the pod’s movement systems (160 tons), cable guide roller and counterweight systems, also controls docking at the 2 loading and maintenance platforms with total precision.


The movements are imperceptible to passengers. The cabin, fully automated like an aircraft, has PLCs that communicate by radio links with those on the ground and ensure a SIL3 safety level. In the event of failure of the systems of normal operation, separate PLCs ensure the return of the cabin and its occupants to shore.

Key figures



million people transported per year

Flight duration

2 0  

minutes at 160 meters high

Pod’s size

1 8  

meters in diameter for 200 passengers