Pothole-Repairing Robots That Can Fix Roads Automatically Could Arrive In UK By 2021
When people envision the future of autonomous vehicles most jump to transport, but some have already begun thinking of the roads these machines would drive on. Introducing the autonomous pothole filler.
Over one billion pounds of taxpayer money goes into filling potholes every year in the UK. Despite this, potholes led to 517 road accidents in 2018.
In order to combat this cost and the frequency of accidents, Robotiz3d has invented a machine to autonomously address issues on roads. The vehicle looks like a tank-roller hybrid and is said to be fixing up roads by the end of 2021.
The technical director of Robotiz3d, Sebastiano Fichera, explained the mission of the project to Digital Trends:
Current methods to detect and repair potholes are labour intensive and as such are slow, unsafe, and costly to the economy and environment. The new technology we are developing will make road maintenance tasks faster, cheaper, and cleaner and ultimately make roads safer and more accessible.
The UK Start-up have delivered a machine that can not only autonomously find and report potholes through images and geometry readings, but it can also fill them in. The autonomous vehicle has a roller and the ability to place asphalt on small cracks, this should allow the machine to address smaller issues and stop them from becoming larger potholes that need more work.
Fichera detailed how these kinds of operations would work:
The prediction functionality can help prioritize repair tasks, [which is] currently done based on human judgement and experience. Prediction also makes it possible for early intervention to take place, to stop cracks from evolving into potholes.
While larger potholes will need to be addressed by people, the ability to find them and address smaller ones will save money and time. The machine will also allow works to take place despite COVID-19 measures because of its autonomous nature.
This appears to be an exciting piece of autonomous technology that could have tangible benefits for British roads. It will be fascinating to see the machine go about its work and how it benefits road users in 2021.
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