Vinci invests in tunnelling robots
By Lewis Tyler21 June 2022
Vinci Construction Grands Projets has invested an undisclosed amount of funds in UK-based tunnelling technology company HyperTunnel, in order to help it develop and test its new tunnelling construction method in practical situations.
The winner of last year’s annual Construction Start-up Competition in Miami, HyperTunnel’s method works by bringing together miniature robots and technologies used in mining, surveying, boring and 3D printing to construct the tunnel in the ground and then excavate it.
The company, which recently spoke in detail about the HyperTunnel method, believe that this new approach will help to reduce the cost of tunnels and allow for the “global demand for increased, yet more sustainable transportation solutions, to be met”.
As well as funding the practical devlopment of the ‘HyperTunnel method’, Vinci’s investment - which is the latest collaboration between the two companies - will also support the growth and future expansion of HyperTunnel.
Earlier this year HyperTunnel became a member of Vinci’s innovation platform Leonard, which gives its partners the resources to distribute its services by using Vinci’s business units.
Guillaume Bazouin, Head of Start-up and Intrapreneurs programs at Leonard, said, “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.”
Swarms of hyperBots are sent into each construction bore to build the tunnel’s structural shell, deploying an additive manufacturing process, which uses the same principle as 3D printing. (Photo: HyperTunnel)
HyperTunnel co-founder Jeremy Hammond 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.”