How bots will build tunnels of the future


A radical new tunnelling technology was due to be revealed in London. NCE had an exclusive advance briefing.

HyperTunnel joint chief executive Steve Jordan is not a man to mince his words. “Current tunnelling technology has reached its physical limits,” he insists.

“It’s too expensive, too slow, and still too risky. You can’t turbocharge a TBM [tunnel boring machine]. Something radical is needed.”

That radical new approach has already secured the firm a contract with Network Rail too.

Expertise from many sources

“Our new approach combines expertise and technology from many sources, from opencast mining to 3D printing, using virtual reality (VR), BIM [building information modelling], digital twinning, digital swarming and artificial intelligence (AI),” explains Jordan.

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Future of Tunnelling | How bots will build tunnels of the future