Vinci backs ‘swarm robotics’ tunnelling startup hyperTunnel

by Sion Geschwindt
Vinci backs UK high-tech tunnelling startup HyperTunnel

UK-based startup HyperTunnel has received an undisclosed financial investment from construction giant VINCI to expand its high-tech tunnelling solution.

HyperTunnel builds underground structures through a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, and swarm robotics.

The funds will be used for business expansion and to further develop and test hyperTunnel’s method in practical situations.

The proposed method involves injecting the lining of a tunnel into the ground and then removing the waste using a swarm of small autonomous robotic vehicles.

François Pogu, Managing Director at VINCI Construction Grands Projects (right) and Steve Jordan, Co-Founder of hyperTunnel.

The deal further strengthens hyperTunnel’s connections with VINCI Construction technical departments. hyperTunnel recently joined VINCI’s innovation platform Leonard as a member of its start-up accelerator programme, Catalyst.

HyperTunnel also won the annual Construction Start-up Competition in Miami last year, which Leonard co-organises with Ferrovial and Cemex Ventures.

Guillaume Bazouin, head of Start-up and Intrapreneurs programs at Leonard, commented: “hyperTunnel’s technology can be truly game-changing when it comes to improving the safety and sustainability of underground construction projects.

“It strongly aligns with our goals of rapidly responding to the climate emergency by enabling technological advances that have a substantial environmental impact.

“hyperTunnel also boasts exceptional leadership and engineering teams, and we are looking to support their great success in the near future.”

Jeremy Hammond, hyperTunnel co-founder, added: “VINCI and Leonard are real experts when it comes to construction innovation, so to get their backing in such a concrete and substantial way means we must be doing something right.

“They can see the huge potential of the technologies we’re developing, and they share our passion for improving how the world works. We’re excited to see what we can achieve together over the coming months.”

Last week, the European Innovation Council (EIC) selected hyperTunnel to receive funding of 1.88 million Euros under its EIC Accelerator scheme.

The funding will be used to complete the development of hyperTunnel’s advanced swarm robotics underground construction platform.

Image credit: Herdik Herlambang/Shutterstock


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