Under the EDA, AmcoGiffen will have exclusive rights to use hyperTunnel technology – including digital twins, robotics, 3D printing and digital underground surveying, supported by AI and VR – for all enhancements, repair, rehabilitation and monitoring of underground spaces, slopes and track bed infrastructure, including stabilisation and water management.  

hyperTunnel launched exclusive distributor licensing agreements in 2022. They allow engineering contractors to offer hyperTunnel technologies exclusively within certain applications, sectors and territories.  

“Construction and maintenance companies are consumed day-to-day with delivering against contracts on tight margins,” said Steve Jordan, co-CEO of hyperTunnel. “Yet, at the same time, they need to develop sustainable innovations that will take their businesses forward, potentially leading the next technological leap.  

“Through this EDA, AmcoGiffen can tap into our approaches and methodologies, R&D investment and industry experts from day one. It is a win-win – our products are commercially ready and in AmcoGiffen we have a partner that will allow us to get robots into the ground quickly and prove the hyperTunnel method in an unforgiving commercial and operational environment.” 

Owned by Renew Holdings plc, AmcoGiffen specialises in the design and delivery of innovative and complex multi-disciplinary engineering, construction and maintenance services across the transport, energy and environmental sectors.  

AmcoGiffen operations director Dave Thomas said the company was convinced the future of maintaining underground structures lay in robotics and automation.

“AmcoGiffen is equipped and ready to partner with hyperTunnel to pioneer its approaches in the UK rail sector while being fully aware of the challenges that may lie ahead for an early adopter of such exciting technology. This exclusive contract represents a significant business opportunity for AmcoGiffen and reflects our long-term ambition to lead innovation in the UK rail sector,” said Thomas. 

In October last year hyperTunnel revealed the world’s first tunnel built entirely by robots.

The ‘Peak XV’ tunnel, built at the company’s R&D facility in Hampshire, was part of a research project for Network Rail. The 6m-long, 2m-high, 2m-wide pedestrian-scale tunnel was built using an automated construction method designed to make tunnel construction 10 times faster, more sustainable and half the cost of conventional methods.

Using swarm construction methods according to a digital twin of the tunnel, a fleet of hyperBot robots enters the ground via an arch of HDPE pipes. Once inside, the robots 3D-print the tunnel shell by deploying construction material directly into the ground.

Last year, hyperTunnel received €1.88m in funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator scheme, Europe’s flagship innovation programme. The company also received a financial investment from Vinci.