Swarm robotics build tunnels of the future

UK-based startup HyperTunnel has developed an innovative way to build underground structures that uses a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and swarm robotics.

HyperTunnel says that its automated construction method will be able to build tunnels more than 10 times faster and at half the cost of conventional methods, without any human needing to enter the structure during construction.

hyperTunnel has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Birmingham to work together to catalyse the development of new products, processes and systems that will benefit the construction sector and society as a whole.

Initially focusing on autonomous tunnelling technologies, imaging, and digital simulations, the partnership between the two organisations is likely to include collaborative research, technology projects, joint publications, secondments, internships and education programmes among other things.

The University of Birmingham is home to the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF), which is part of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). UKCRIC is designed to stimulate research activities in the fields of infrastructure and cities through close collaboration between academia, industry and government. NBIF is currently leading research into areas such as soil/structure interaction, digital twinning, tunnelling and quantum-technology sensing.

hyperTunnel and the University of Birmingham will also engage in joint activities at the University’s new campus in Dubai, which includes the development of a multi-million pound Tunnelling Centre of Excellence.

hyperTunnel’s Director of Corporate Development, John Moreland-Lynn, announced the formation of the multi-stakeholder centre earlier this month at the Big 5 Construction Conference in Dubai. Earlier this year, hyperTunnel was awarded ‘Start-up of the Year’ at the Construction Technology Awards show, in Dubai.

“The University of Birmingham is one of the top 100 academic institutions in the world and the NBIF is a world-class facility,” said hyperTunnel co-founder Jeremy Hammond. “Both our organisations are deeply involved in radically innovating underground infrastructure. It’s really exciting to think about what we can achieve by combining our expertise like this.”

“We’re really looking forward to diving into this collaboration,” said Nicole Metje, Professor of Infrastructure Monitoring at the University. “Joining forces with pioneering British organisations like hyperTunnel to expand our research and amplify our impact and theirs is exactly what we’re about. This partnership is a significant milestone for NBIF.”

Video credit: hyperTunnel


Source: Build in Digital