Robots continue to gain ground in tasks that were previously only performed by humans and machines, but always maneuvered by people. Now a British company built a tunnel only with robots, increasing productivity ten times faster.
The HyperTunnel system uses swarm construction methods in accordance with a digital twin of the tunnel, a fleet of ‘hyperBot’ robots entered the ground through an arch of plastic pipes.
Once inside, robots 3D print the tunnel shell by rolling out construction material directly on the ground.
The six meter long, two meter high and two meter wide pedestrian-scale Peak XV tunnel has been delivered as part of a project for Network Rail
David Castlo, Network Technical Lead (Mining & Tunneling) at Network Rail, said: “Our large portfolio of Victorian tunnels requires increasing levels of work to meet the needs of the rail network.
“However, we want to reduce the level of disruption for our passengers, so we are constantly looking for new approaches to widening or repairing tunnels that reduce the time a tunnel will be closed to trains. Peak XV brings us one step closer to that goal, and more importantly, with a method that reduces workforce safety risk.”
Steve Jordan, co-CEO and co-founder of hyperTunnel, said: “Introducing our first full-scale demo tunnel is a big step, not only for hyperTunnel, but also for the tunneling and construction industries that are eagerly awaiting the preparation of our approach to use, as appropriate, in your global projects.
“While the exclusive use of robots to build underground structures is dramatically different, contributing technologies such as digital twins, robotics, 3D printing and digital underground surveying, supported by AI and virtual reality, are well proven in other industries. . In fact, the hyperTunnel in-situ method is all about de-risking construction projects.”