Network Rail is responsible for over 600 operational tunnels throughout the network, which is approximately 335km of structures. The majority of tunnels currently need a manual examination every year. Examinations performed by humans are time consuming, costly and can be dangerous for workers.
The project seeks to:
- replace manual tunnel examinations
- reduce the need for the workforce to access existing infrastructure
- increase efficiencies
- deliver a safer and more automated method of examination
The project will build on previous work undertaken during Control Period 5 by investing in the development of autonomous robotic examination systems, and analytical tools to better capture and manage examination data.
These new technologies are predicted to significantly improve the cost and increase the safety of tunnel examinations. The project will also seek to address the repeatability and reproducibility issues associated with the human centric bias of examinations, resulting in better asset condition data, a more accurate understanding of asset condition, and improved targeting of detailed examinations, maintenance and repair work.
Academic research suggests that cost savings could be in the order of 80% in comparison to the cost of manual examinations.
About SBRI competitions
SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.
For more information on the railway industry’s priorities, please refer to:
You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document, which is available for download on our secure site after registration.
If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.
If you need more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 between 9am and 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.