Pioneering tunnel builders hyperTunnel have scored a major coup, securing UK government funding to showcase their revolutionary swarm construction technique at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) in South Wales.
Their underpass project is one of just 16 cutting-edge schemes set to be unveiled at the GCRE's Dulais Valley site this year. hyperTunnel's brainchild, the swarm construction technique, harnesses the power of AI, digital surveying, and robot swarms to essentially 3D print tunnels directly in the ground, eliminating the need for messy excavation.
This futuristic approach it hopes will transform underground construction, whilst slashing costs and timeframes. It can also help contribute to waste reduction, risk prevention and help reduce a projects carbon footprint compared to the traditional cut-and-cover methods which are frequently used.
Their GCRE project will see them build a 20-metre pedestrian underpass beneath a test track, cleverly designed to keep the track operational throughout construction.
hyperTunnel's overarching vision is to offer a financially viable alternative to perilous level crossings which it anticipates will boost safety, and increase rail capacity.
"We're thrilled that the GCRE shares our enthusiasm for the hyperTunnel method," said co-founder Steve Jordan. "After countless hours perfecting our robot fleet in the lab, it's time to unleash them on a real-world test site, under accelerated conditions, where potential partners can witness their magic firsthand. The GCRE facility is a game-changer for us, and we can't wait to showcase our solution to the age-old level crossing problem."
The GCRE, currently under construction, is poised to become Europe's premier hub for rail and mobility innovation. The facility, in South Wales will undertake cutting-edge research, testing, and certification of new rail technologies and serve as an incubator for groundbreaking projects, including the recently announced Getzner project which will develop its vibration isolation technology at the centre.
hyperTunnel’s project is funded by the Department for Business and Trade through the "GCRE: Railway Construction Innovation Phase 2" competition, and will be delivered by InnovateUK in collaboration with GCRE.
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