Engineer firms

Vinci invests in a “revolutionary” start-up of tunnel boring machines

hyperTunnel has received a financial investment from Vinci, the funds of which will be used for business expansion and to further develop and test hyperTunnel’s “revolutionary” construction method in practical situations.

The transaction further strengthens hyperTunnel’s ties with Vinci Construction’s technical services, after hyperTunnel joined Vinci Léonard’s innovation platform as a member of its Catalyst start-up accelerator program.

Leonard, head of start-up and intrapreneur programs Guillaume Bazouin underlined the potential of the hyperTunnel approach.

“hyperTunnel’s technology can be a real game-changer when it comes to improving the safety and sustainability of underground construction projects,” he said. “This aligns strongly with our goals of rapidly responding to the climate emergency by enabling technological advances that have substantial environmental impact. hyperTunnel also has exceptional management and engineering teams, and we seek to support their great success in the near future.”

hyperTunnel co-founder Jeremy Hammond added: “Vinci and Leonard are true experts in construction innovation, so to gain their support in such a concrete and substantial way, we have to do something right. .

“They can see the huge potential in the technologies we are developing and they share our passion for making the world work better. We are excited to see what we can accomplish together over the next few months.”

It comes after the European Innovation Council (EIC), Europe’s flagship innovation programme, last week selected hyperTunnel to receive €1.88m (£1.6m) funding in the as part of its EIC Accelerator program. The funding will be used to complete the development of hyperTunnel’s advanced robotic swarm underground construction platform.

Last year, Virgin Hyperloop’s senior director of global business development, Diana Zhou, said the hyperloop could be the “missing link” between rail and aviation.

Zhou told NCE’s Future of Rail conference that rail effectively connects distances of up to 300 km or 500 km, but for longer distances there is “a limit to how long people are willing to go. in transit” and so they often switch to air transport.

“We believe the hyperloop can extend that reach and connect distances between 500 and 1,000 km at very compelling speeds,” she said.

“It could be that missing link between rail and aviation.”

In addition, the European Commission has supported hyperloop in its sustainability strategy, while Spanish construction giant Ferrovial has signed a framework agreement with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) to analyze opportunities for building the advanced transportation system in United States.

Meanwhile, the United States government has decided to establish a regulatory framework for the safe deployment of hyperloop systems. Following this, Virgin Hyperloop unveiled its first Hyperloop Certification Center in October 2020 and carried out the first passenger tests in November.

Spanish hyperloop company Zeleros has also announced that it has raised more than €7m (£6.2m) to develop its version of hyperloop technology, while Polish company Nevomo – formerly Hyper Poland – has raised over £436,000 in its UK crowdfunding campaign. In its latest campaign, the company raised over £1.1m.

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