Home » Swarm robotics startup teams up with Birmingham Uni to revolutionise tunnelling

Swarm robotics startup teams up with Birmingham Uni to revolutionise tunnelling

by Sion Geschwindt

UK-based startup hyperTunnel has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Birmingham to spur the development of a new method of building tunnels that is slated to be faster, less costly, less risky, and more sustainable.

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.

A significant part of the R&D activities will take place at the National Buried Infrastructure Facility (NBIF), housed at Birmingham University. NBIF is currently leading research into areas such as soil/structure interaction, digital twinning, tunnelling and quantum-technology sensing.

The facility 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.

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 in December 2022 at the Big 5 Construction Conference in Dubai.

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Jeremy Hammond, hyperTunnel co-founder, said: “The University of Birmingham is one of the top 100 academic institutions in the world and the NBIF is a world-class facility.

“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.”

Nicole Metje, Professor of Infrastructure Monitoring at the University, added: “We’re really looking forward to diving into this collaboration.

“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.”

Read next: Digital twins will revolutionise tunnelling

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