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Innovations in Tunnelling Technology: Startups Enhancing Underground Infrastructure

By Mwikisa Kanguya

The need for effective and durable subterranean infrastructure is higher than ever as urbanisation picks up speed and cities become denser. This has led to the emergence of a new wave of creative entrepreneurs that are committed to improving tunnelling technology and transforming the construction and upkeep of subterranean networks. Innovative developments in robotics, automation, materials science, and data analytics are being utilised by these organisations to surmount conventional obstacles in tunnel building, including financial constraints, schedule constraints, and safety apprehensions. They’re not only changing the face of urban development with their innovative work, but they’re also creating the foundation for a subterranean, sustainable future.

It is anticipated that the global underground tunnelling market will expand by 10.5% a year (CAGR 2024 – 2031).

This week, we spotlight two companies that are driving innovation in the sector:

hyperTunnel is a British company co-founded by Jeremy Hammond revolutionising underground construction through the innovative use of AI, machine learning, and swarm robotics. By combining technologies from various industries, hyperTunnel offers a faster, safer, more cost-effective, and sustainable approach to building tunnels and underground structures. Their unique infraTech process aims to address the challenges of traditional tunnelling methods by increasing speed, enhancing safety, reducing costs, lowering project risks, and minimising environmental impact.

Enhanced Scanning:
Enhanced Scanning is a U.S. company founded by Forrest Sim that provides private utility locating, GPR concrete scanning, drone photogrammetry, 3D laser scanning, and holistic concrete structural analysis services for the construction, engineering, and scientific communities. Their team specialises in the unfindable, ensuring safe post-tension slab drilling, and offering quick response times for underground utility locating.

In conclusion, the emergence of startups focused on enhancing tunnelling technology marks a significant milestone in the evolution of underground infrastructure. By harnessing the power of innovation and technology, these companies are driving forward progress in tunnel construction, maintenance, and management. Their efforts promise to address longstanding challenges while unlocking new opportunities for sustainable urban development and connectivity.

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