Turin-Lyon, Webuild tests the Axel robot

It replaces man in the exploration of sections of tunnels and critical tunnels, the prototype was created by the engineers of the Group and by the researchers of the Cim

A robot unique in the world to dig tunnels safely. His name is Axel and has been successfully tested by Webuild with Csc Costruzioni (Webuild Group). The Italian giant announced that it has successfully completed the test phase of the prototype of the Autonomous Exploration Electrified Vehicle rover, a cutting-edge technology ” intended to increase the safety of workers employed in tunneling activities in the Turin-Lyon area“. Webuild explains that the technology consists of” a highly innovative remote guided system, the first in the world with high performance capable of replacing humans in the exploration of sections of tunnels and tunnels of which the risks for the health of workers “. Axel is the result of the collaboration between the Engineering of the Webuild Group and the researchers of the Cim-Competence Industry Manufacturing 4.0 center of excellence and is used for preliminary surveys in the tunnels of the interchange niches of the Maddalena gallery, in the Webuild construction site active on the Italian side of the Turin-Lyon base tunnel

. An innovative application of robotics applied to infrastructures, destined to increase safety at work for the entire supply chain.

Commissioned by Telt, a bi-national public promoter in charge of the construction and management of the High Speed ​​/ High Capacity line designed under the Alps between Turin and Lyon, the project of the interchange niches of the Maddalena tunnel presents the need for probe 3 kilometers of tunnel, of which the environmental data are not known, to allow workers to enter safely. Complexity faced with Axel, the robot tailor-made for Webuild And
named after the young protagonist of Jules Verne’s novel, ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’. Webuild also notes that Axel “is the first concrete example, in Italy and on this scale, of the application of robotics to tunneling exploration in the railway sector”. The automaton allows the collection and dynamic analysis of environmental data, to identify areas in which operators can intervene safely and can be controlled from a distance of up to 2 kilometers.

Equipped with cameras, sensors, antennas for communication with the base station, the Axel robot guarantees very high levels of reliability, resists critical environmental conditions and is zero emissions. Axel is part of the various applied research experiences of the Webuild world, where every project and every construction site is experienced as an opportunity for continuous innovation. One approach, Webuild notes, “that translates into processes that are increasingly attentive to worker safety, environmental sustainability and efficiency “. The interchange niches of the Maddalena tunnel are part of the anticipatory works of the transalpine base tunnel, the ambitious European sustainable mobility project that will connect Turin and Lyon, on the Milan-Paris section, passing under the Alps, with a special line. high speed / high capacity.

Primary crossing of the Mediterranean corridor of the Tent-T trans-European transport network, the section will extend for 65 kilometers and aims to move a number of heavy vehicles equal to 3 million tons of CO2 per year from road to rail. Webuild reminds that it is now also involved in other sections of the project coordinated by Telt. In 2021, Lot 2, Cantieri Operativi 6 (La Praz) and 7 (Saint-Martin-de-la-Porte), for a total value of 1.43 billion euros, for the excavation of 46 kilometers of tunnels – with two parallel tunnels and auxiliary works – between the cities of Saint-Martin-de-la-Porte and La Praz, on French territory.

In 2020, the Italian multinational won the contract for Lotto 5A as a group of companiesfor a total value of 450 million euros, for the realization of the preparatory works for the safety site in Modane, the construction of 4 ventilation shafts for the base tunnel and for preparatory works for the construction of a logistics hub at 500m deep under the Ambin Massif.