Swarming tunnel bots to dig pedestrian underpass

Aaron Morby 1 month ago
Share

An innovative robot-construction tunnel method is to be used to dig a 20m pedestrian underpass below a test railway line in South Wales.

The automated construction method builds tunnels more than 10 times faster and at half the cost of conventional techniques.

HyperTunnel technology uses swarm robotics to effectively 3D print an supporting arch structure in the ground before any excavation takes place.

Using horizontal directional drilling, a series of bore pipes are drilled in the geology to form the outline of the tunnel. With precision accuracy, a number of semi-autonomous robots move throughout the inside of the bores to create the structural shell of the tunnel using swarming techniques.

This advanced automated tunnelling system will be piloted at The Global Centre of Rail Excellence project under construction at the Dulais Valley site in South Wales.

The project aims to provide an economically viable alternative to hazardous level crossings, while improving safety, increasing rail capacity and avoiding inconvenience to road and rail users.

hyperTunnel will build the pedestrian-sized tunnel under a GCRE’s test track, designed to allow the track above to remain open throughout the construction process.

A fleet of ‘hyperBot’ robots enter the ground via an arch of plastic pipes.

Once inside, the robots 3D-print the tunnel shell by deploying construction material directly into the ground.

HyperTunnel co-founder Steve Jordan, said: “We are delighted that the GCRE sees the same potential in the hyperTunnel method as our partners in the construction industry.

“Having spent many hundreds of hours developing our robot fleet in the lab in Basingstoke, the system is now ripe for being proven on a real site, in accelerated test conditions, and which can be visited by interested parties.

The GCRE facility is going to be a huge opportunity for us and we can’t wait to get started and to present a feasible technological solution to the longstanding level-crossing issue.”

Currently under construction, The Global Centre of Rail Excellence is a world class facility for rail research, testing and certification of rolling stock, infrastructure and cutting-edge new technologies currently being developed in South Wales.

Located on a 700-hectare site, GCRE will become Europe’s premier site for rail and mobility innovation.

Latest news

Willmott Dixon set for Manchester science park job

Contractor understood to be in final stages of talks to land £75m Greenheys building
3 days ago

Stewart Milne went down owing supply chain £153m

So far 1,375 firms have come forward with unpaid bills
3 days ago

Didcot disaster investigation enters its ninth year

Still no answers for families of quartet killed in demolition collapse
3 days ago

Mount Anvil wins £275m Westminster estate renewal

First phase of Church Street area regeneration will deliver 400 new homes and a library
3 days ago

Trio of A47 road upgrades to go-ahead as legal challenge fails

20-month delay adds tens of millions to dualling costs
3 days ago

Skanska and Morgan Sindall win £277m duo of Cambridge jobs

Railpen awards £200m Botanic Place and £77m Devonshire Gardens office jobs
4 days ago

Offsite specialist Merit sees profits grow

Contractor sees further growth in turnover and profits
3 days ago

Morgan Sindall delivers another record year of profit

Revenue tops £4bn as pre-tax profit soars 70% to £144m
4 days ago

Galliford Try nets two pipelines and road job worth £98m

Firm wins £64m of Thames Water pipelines and Halifax road improvements
3 days ago

HS2 viaduct blunder over wonky concrete segments

Align JV now drilling out concrete joint as part of week-long remedial work
4 days ago

City of London hots up as 9m sq ft under construction

Investors return to City as "10 Cheesgraters" of floorspace under construction
4 days ago

Four arrested in £140m property fraud probe

Serious Fraud Office investigating collapse of property developer Signature Group
4 days ago

McLaren gets green light for 31-storey student tower

Revamp of historic Birmingham site will provide 759 student beds and 189 apartments
4 days ago

BT Tower to become hotel

New owner MCR Hotels to transform iconic building
4 days ago

Plans in for first phase of £1.7bn ID Manchester

Plan to reinvent 1960s Renold Building as a new innovation hub
4 days ago

London £3bn housing framework out to tender

SMEs allocated slots on London Construction Programme housing framework refresh
5 days ago

BAM wins first major RAAC school rebuild

Contractor seals £46m deal for St Leonards school in Durham
5 days ago

Failed strip out specialist owes £1.5m to supply chain

More than 100 subcontractors and suppliers left with unpaid bills by Type Ten Limited
5 days ago

Councils to turn screw on building owners over fire safety upgrades

Government tells councils to step up legal action against rogue building owners
5 days ago

Green light for £300m Fenland energy from waste scheme

Wisbech incinerator will generate 50MW from half a million tonnes of waste
5 days ago

Multiplex starts on 50-storey Thames tower

Developer green lights construction of latest phase of £3bn Bankside Yards scheme
6 days ago

McLaren lodges fresh Reading Broad Street Mall plan

Town centre scheme will deliver 600 homes in four towers
6 days ago

Beard bags £24.5m Bristol office revamp

Construction to start in April
5 days ago

SMEs star in £3.2bn social housing upkeep deal

Around 85% of Efficiency North's framework winners are local firms
6 days ago

Scottish NHS new building projects delayed for two years

Spending clampdown hits over a dozen planned projects
6 days ago

Balfour M25 workers hold strike ballot

Motorway maintenance crews unhappy with 3.4% pay rise offer
6 days ago

Rainsford Contracts acquires M&E specialist

Expanded contractor will have turnover of £45m
6 days ago

Statom expands with launch of Northern HQ

RC frames specialist now targeting jobs in Scotland and north of England
6 days ago

High Court dismisses Stonehenge tunnel challenge

Judge quashes legal challenge against Government consent for £1.7bn job
6 days ago

£1.5bn Teesside carbon capture scheme consented

Final investment decision expected this year for construction start
7 days ago

Contractor services