The tough mole

Work underground is not just about mining. The drilling of subterranean ducts for the construction of roads or canals is just as strenuous as the extraction of mineral resources. We have now automated a remote control for tunnel boring machines.

With the remote control, six cameras sit at the drill head instead of the machine operator. A fibre optic cable transmits the images as light signals to the control position which is 1.2 kilometres away. Three receivers receive the signals from the remote control and forward them to the control unit.

All components are so robust that they can also withstand the harsh underground conditions in the long term. Safety is the top priority: In the event of an incident, either only the drill head or the entire system is switched off.