British tunneling start-up hyperTunnel has received financial investment from VINCI, a global leader in concessions, energy and construction businesses. The funds will be used for business expansion and to further develop and test hyperTunnel’s revolutionary construction method in practical situations, said hyperTunnel in a press release. The exact amount of the grant was not disclosed.
The investment comes shortly after hyperTunnel joined VINCI’s innovation platform Leonard as a member of its start-up accelerator programme, Catalyst. hyperTunnel launched in 2018 and has around 30 employees. Last week, hyperTunnel also received funding to the tune of €1.88 million from the European Innovation Council (EIC)to help complete its advanced swarm robotics underground construction platform.
hyperTunnel’s technology is being designed to assist in many areas of the tunnel building process. The company places its focus mainly on surveying for interfaces and obstacles, helping in the structural assessment of a tunnel project, as well as providing a safe and ecologically-friendly excavation of a site. This is done by building a tube structure through horizontal drilling in order to send sensors and tools that can then conduct remote surveying and structural work.
“hyperTunnel’s technology can be truly game-changing when it comes to improving the safety and sustainability of underground construction projects,” said Guillaume Bazouin, Head of Start-up and Intrapreneurs programs at Leonard.
The investment comes at a time of greater interest in tunnels, mainly through the form of hyperloop infrastructure, as an effective alternative to air travel. In December 2020, the EU made hyperloops a component of its mobility strategy.
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