HyperTunnel will uses its patented ‘swarm’ technique to crate a 20-metre long foot tunnel, of a type that could be put in under railway lines, if it works well enough.
HyperTunnel’s underpass is one of 16 schemes that will be demonstrated at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence’s Dulais Valley site this year.
The underpass will demonstrate HyperTunnel’s swarm construction technique, which uses a swarm of robots – or automated ‘hyperbots’ – to inject material into the ground to create a tunnel frame before excavation takes place. The claim is that it will be faster, cheaper, safer and greener than current cut-and-cover construction techniques.
“We are delighted that the GCRE sees the same potential in the HyperTunnel method as our partners in the construction industry,” said HyperTunnel co-founder Steve Jordan. “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.”
The Global Centre of Rail Excellence is currently under construction on a 700-hectare site in South Wales. It aims to undertake research, testing and certification of new rail technologies.