KTN’s Innovation Exchange is working alongside a large UK company looking to engage innovators that can help them solve a significant challenge they are trying to overcome in relation to a key productivity issue. The challenge owner will engage with the suppliers of innovation to support development, if necessary, to better suit the application. The organisation’s facilities are situated throughout the UK and activities take place across the world. Across the estate there are over 6,600 manhole covers or service trench covers in primarily industrial locations, which all require regular inspection. The business needs help to identify an alternative to the current manual inspection regime.


Currently the only method of inspection is as part of the regular site surveys and takes the form of a visual inspection by site personnel which often requires the cover to be lifted. Tracing the true condition and/or deterioration of a particular manhole cover requires frequent in-person visits which is not always possible, is inefficient and yields information of variable quality.

In order to improve operational safety and to minimise the survey resource required, the challenge holder is seeking an alternative and non-intrusive way to assess the integrity of these covers on a periodic basis (or continuously if possible).


The challenge owner is actively looking for solutions that will;

  • Assess the current condition of the covers and pits
  • Identify and highlight defects
  • Monitor changes in condition over time

The challenge owner will not consider solutions that involve:

  • Cloud-hosted data capture
  • Equipment that is not easily transported
  • Lengthy development programmes

Rewards and benefits

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the challenger. The package may also include:

  • Support from the Catapult networks and KTN
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Technical support
  • Invitation to attend or present at KTN or Catapult events
  • A potential business collaboration
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)


To submit your solution to this Challenge, visit the Innovation Exchange page.