World's first pothole preventing robot using AI to tackle growing problem

World's first pothole preventing robot using AI to tackle growing problem
Hertfordshire County Council has announced the introduction of a new robot that uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle the UK’s ongoing pothole problem.

The autonomous robot, developed by tech company Robotiz3d and academics at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council Highways Engineers, has successfully passed its first test outside of a lab environment.

The tests were carried out on the roads of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire on March 6th, and by using state of the art imaging technology, it will now be used to fill in potholes in the region.

Named Autonomous Road Repair System (ARRES), the team that built the robot was funded by Innovate UK and other investors, and used the money to build a software that can notice the characterises of potholes and other defects, and then automatically fills them in to keep out surface water.

This then helps to prevent potholes forming, and will aim to save time and money tackling the issue after the potholes have grown in size.

The council has stated that the technology could ‘revolutionise the way Hertfordshire and the rest of the world deal with potholes and issues with road surfaces in the future’.

After the successful tests, the next steps for the team behind the ARRES project are looking to go ahead with full production of the robot and are looking to build a larger version of it in the future.

Cllr Reena Ranger, Deputy Executive Member for Highways at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “After another wet winter, we know we’re likely to see an increase in potholes forming as the road surface recovers from water getting into cracks.

“That’s why we’ve worked hard to fix over 40,000 potholes this year through the trial of new techniques and using this cutting-edge technology we could potentially prevent the potholes forming in the first place.

“We’re committed to maintaining our road network so that it remains one of the best in the country – we’re excited for the time we can welcome PREVENT officially to our team.”

Technology and Decarbonisation Minister, Anthony Browne MP, said: “This innovative technology has the potential to transform how we perform road maintenance and enhance the driver experience across Hertfordshire and beyond.

“It is said a stitch in time saves nine, and that prevention is better than cure - and likewise stopping cracks from growing into potholes could save a lot of future maintenance work.

“We’re committed to supporting businesses with bright ideas to improve our transport system, and have provided over £30,000 through our Transport Research and Innovation Grants to help Robotiz3d realise their vision for pothole-free roads.”

What do you make of the robots introduction? Would you like to see it rolled out across the UK? Leave your comments below.

RAC Breakdown Cover

RAC Breakdown Cover

With our cover, the difference is in your pocket.

*New customers only. Applies to Extra and Complete cover for 1 vehicle or 1 person. Ends 04/06/24, 7am. ^£7 for new, single vehicle Basic cover. Not in sale.

RAC Breakdown Cover