Sitting in the park in the sun, watching videos about robots.

"I'd like to introduce you to a personal friend of mine, the Herrenknecht EPB Shield TBM."

"Driling Together for Progress."

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10 Responses:

  1. They used one of these to build a long tunnel in my hometown (Perth, Western Australia) though we never got to see it. There was a rumour going around that when it finished they just drove it foward a bit and left it in the ground because it wasn't cost effective to pull it apart and remove it. So perhaps there's a robot slumbering under Perth, waiting for the right time to lift itself from the ground like a mechanical sandworm to wreak havoc on the world's most remote city. Someone should call Michael Bay.

    • David M.A. says:

      I seem to recall BLDGBLOG noting in a blog post that being left underground was a common fate for many of these machines.

      • jwz says:

        It has long been my plan to find a way to remotely reactivate these machines and hold the world for ransom.

        Soon...

      • tkil says:

        being left underground was a common fate for many of these [TBMs]

        Any time the machine isn't going all the way through in one direction, there's not really any other choice -- the cutter head is typically wider than the finished tunnel, so there's no way to get it out.

        I'm pretty sure there are a pile of them sitting under the bottom of the English Channel:

        Towards the completion of the undersea drives, the UK TBMs were driven steeply downwards and buried clear of the tunnel. These buried TBMs were then used to provide an electrical earth. The French TBMs then completed the tunnel and were dismantled.
        -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunnel#Tunnelling

        That is one hell of a grounding rod.

        And I think that a recent deep-level NYC subway also left at least the cutter head underground.

  2. Different Jamie says:

    Seems like it was a lot easier on Dune. I blame zoning regulations.

  3. rescdsk says:

    After seeing all the computer graphics, I had the urge to see a real one. Here's a heart-warming image of a bunch of dudes who have just spent a long time putting up the reinforced concrete wall of a subway station. And they know in their heads that the tunnel boring machine is laser guided and is going to come out of the hole they have left, but there is always that nagging doubt... video on youtube

  4. tjic says:

    This video was quite useful in my research for writing a science fiction novel involving AI, armed robot tanks, and TBMs on the moon.

    No.

    I'm not joking.