Crossrail is Europe's largest infrastructure project. Stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west, across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the new railway will cover over 100km of track including 21km of new twin-bore rail tunnels and ten new stations.
Crossrail and its partners are already pioneering the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and the production of 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) models is a handover requirement from each of their construction contracts, to support visualisation of project delivery. This means that Crossrail already has access to rich environments to support AR or Virtual Reality (VR) applications.
Now that tunnelling is complete and Crossrail has commenced the Mechanical, Electrical, Public Health and Architectural installation phase, there will be significant works underway in confined spaces, making effective people and materials management critical to maintaining schedule. Process efficiency and personnel safety will be paramount and a key objective in the coming years will be to maintain safety and quality.
The next phase will use BIM models in testing to verify that the delivered assets meet the design specifications, and that system interfaces (e.g. tunnels, stations, signalling) are considered, and integrated to deliver an operational railway.
In the subsequent handover phase it will be crucial for the operator to ensure that the assets being accepted are maintainable, and will operate reliably, safely and to performance requirements. Assets include Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, tracks, signalling, lighting, escalators, stations, platforms, etc.
In this context successful applicants might consider how:
● AR could be used for daily site briefings, safety briefings, and to show progress against plan.
● AR / VR could be used to plan testing, allowing visualisation of the systems and assets, as they are integrated to operational level.
● AR / VR might be used to improve visualisation of intended operating parameters, and comparison with actual asset operation.
● AR / VR could be used by the operator to potentially assure their own readiness through training staff
● AR/VR could be used to plan maintenance activities, giving consideration to safety of the working space, and complexity of maintenance activity
Successful applicants should also consider how their solution could be commercialised for other engineering and construction projects.
This £35k challenge is to develop an application that can consume the available data, to support at least one of the elements described above. Crossrail will provide an opportunity to access its 3D BIM models, and demonstrate feasibility of the successful solution, which could then be commercialised.