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The University of Southampton
Intelligent & Resilient Ocean Engineering – Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies

Research project: ROBOCONE - Intelligent robotics for next generation ground investigation and design

Currently Active: 

ROBOCONE is a multi-institutional research project between the University of Bristol, the University of Southampton and Trinity college Dublin, funded by EPSRC and Science Foundation Ireland, to create a new site investigation tool for intelligent ground characterisation.


Investigators: Dr Andrea Diambra (PI), and Co-Is - Dr Andrew Conn, Prof Erdin Ibraim, Prof George, Mylonakis (University of Bristol), Prof David White, Prof Susan Gourvenec, Dr Benjamin Cerfontaine (University of Southampton), and Dr David Igoe (Trinity College Dublin). Visiting researcher: Dr James Doherty (University Western Australia).


ROBOCONE will break free from the kinematic constraints of conventional site investigation tools - such as the very widespread cone penetration test (CPT).

The ROBOCONE device will feature three modular sections that are actuated after the device is installed into the ground, and apply kinematic mechanisms and strain histories to the ground that closely mimic stress paths around foundations (Fig. 1a):

1) horizontal movements resembling p-y soil response;

2) vertical movements resembling τrz-z soil response;

3) torsional movement resembling τrθ-θ soil response.

The device development will be combined with new theoretical approaches to interpret ROBOCONE’s data to provide objective and reliable geotechnical parameters, ready for use in whole-life design.



ROBOCONE's device
Figure 1. ROBOCONE's device and smart testing

The concept design of ROBOCONE was presented at CPT’22 in Bologna. The full paper can be read open access here and the poster accompanying the paper can be seen below.




Related research groups

Infrastructure Group
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