Irvine is bustling with entrepreneurial zeal with innovators creating world-changing breakthroughs.
Irvine’s space-age ambitions have attracted a division of SpaceX, America’s most successful private-spaceflight company. Meanwhile, Terran Orbital is working with NASA to build a moon base for the future colonization of Mars. Iceye just opened a new manufacturing facility for its fleet of one-of-a-kind satellites that can see through clouds. And Turion Space is on the cutting edge of a new aerospace industry that can monitor, repair and reposition satellites.
Irvine is a med-tech mecca, with more than 400 firms that provide 18,000 jobs – and life-saving inventions. Among the most celebrated achievements: Edwards Lifesciences invented the first successful heart valve; Allergan pioneered the use of eyedrops and Botox cosmetic procedures; while UC Irvine professor Tibor Juhasz helped develop LASIK cornea surgery, which has helped 30 million people worldwide.
Irvine plays as hard as it works, which is why it’s also a leader in the $150 billion annual video game industry. Blizzard Entertainment’s $9.2-billion-grossing World of Warcraft has been called the world’s best online role-playing game. Oculus VR created one of the world’s first VR headsets, the Oculus Rift, while Ready at Dawn’s Lone Echo pioneered virtual‑reality adventure gaming. Now known as Gamer’s Gateway, Irvine is also home to Sega, Amazon Game Studios and Frost Giant.
The future of transportation is literally taking off in Irvine, where the Hyundai Motor Group recently unveiled a plan to produce a flying taxi by 2028. Irvine is also home to Rivian, hailed as the Tesla of trucks, and a host of other major auto companies – including Ford, Kia, Volvo, Karma and Mazda, which designed the bestselling sports car of all time right here in Irvine: the Miata.
Sunny Irvine is also helping to lead the way to potentially historic progress in harnessing solar power from space. Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren has contributed over $100 million to Caltech’s Space Solar Power Project, which promises to be a major breakthrough in the global quest for clean, abundant and affordable energy. Irvine Company also has created the world’s first fleet of hybrid-electric high-rise office buildings, installing Tesla Powerpack batteries that reduce peak-hour power demand by 25%. At TAE Technologies, founded by the late UCI professor Norman Rostoker, engineers hope to harness nuclear fusion that can create nearly unlimited amounts of renewable energy.