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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/E003338/1
Title: Micro-Measurement and Monitoring System for Ageing Underground Infrastructures (Underground M3)
Principal Investigator: Soga, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Mair, Professor L Seshia, Professor A Cippola, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2006 Ends: 31 March 2010 Value (£): 441,832
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Image & Vision Computing Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
Mobile Computing Networks & Distributed Systems
Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Communications Construction
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
One of the greatest challenges facing civil engineers in the 21st century is the stewardship of ageing infrastructure. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the networks of tunnels and pipelines that lie beneath the major cities around the world. Much of this underground infrastructure was constructed more than half a century ago and there is widespread evidence of deterioration of this old infrastructure. Advances in the development of computer vision and miniature electromechanical sensors offer intriguing possibilities that can radically alter the paradigms underlying existing methods of condition assessment and monitoring. Future monitoring systems will undoubtedly comprise Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) and will be designed around the capabilities of autonomous nodes. Each node in the network will integrate specific sensing capabilities with communication, data processing and power supply. This proposal comprises an integrated research program to evaluate and develop prototype WSN systems called the Underground M3 system for condition assessment and monitoring of ageing underground infrastructure. The main aim of the proposed research is to develop a system that uses a tied approach to monitor the degree and rate of deterioration. It is proposed that the system comprises of (1) Tier 1: Micro-detection using advances in computer vision and (2) Tier 2: Micro-monitoring and communication using advances in MEMs and wireless communication. These potentially low-cost technologies will be able to reduce costs associated with end-of-life structures, which is essential to the viability of rehabilitation, repair and reuse. Another important benefit is the increased safety levels they can provide to cope with natural disasters such as climate change, flood warnings and earthquakes. The research will be conducted in close co-operation with an interdisciplinary group of partners including public and private sector agencies responsible for maintenance and operation of underground infrastructure.
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk