A consortium of engineering companies — including Tunnel Engineering Services (TES), i3D robotics (i3D), the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Costain and VVB Engineering — has developed a prototype autonomous robotic system capable of installing mechanical and civil services in tunnels.

Dubbed ATRIS, which stands for Automated Tunnel Robotic Installation System, the robotic system can autonomously select brackets, identify where they need to be mounted along a tunnel wall and subsequently install them — tasks when done manually can be potentially hazardous, labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Source: Andrei Zota/CostainSource: Andrei Zota/Costain

As such, ATRIS is expected to improve on-site health and safety by reducing the risks associated with manual labor at the tunnel work face, the consortium explained.

The consortium added that ATRIS is intended for deployment in tunnel construction for sectors including transport, water and energy, where it promises to increase productivity by an estimated 40% and reduce installation costs for new mechanical and electrical systems by 30%.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com