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Say bye to potholes: Work on autonomous robot vehicles to fix roads almost ready

  • Patrol, detect and fix - this could be the perfect way of addressing potholes without the need for human intervention.

Potholes may be a thing of the past if researchers at Robotiz3d are able to roll out to a completely autonomous robot vehicle capable of patrolling, detecting and even fixing road fractures in the times to come. According to UK media reports, the work is near its completion and these vehicles may be on the country's roads as early as 2021.

Potholes are a common problem even in developed countries and often lead to accidents, some with fatal consequences. In UK alone, around 1 billion pounds have been spent over a decade to fix potholes across the country. DailyMail reports that the estimated cost of repairing all UK roads in need of a fix could be around 10 billion pounds.

As such, the use of technology is fast being realized as an immediate and effective solution to ensure that roads remain in a perfect state to allow for a safe driving and ride experience.

(Related read: Data from your phone may help report road status for quick repair. Here's how)

And this is where Robotiz3d is looking to step in. The robot in development promises to navigate itself on roads in search of defects. If such defects are relatively small, the robot vehicle could potentially spray asphalt to address the issue. If the defects are significant and large in size, the vehicle will collect measurements, capture images and relay the data to authorities for necessary action. "In addition to reducing risks to maintenance crews, the cost of repair, and damage-fix timescales, the system's AI capabilities can also predict road conditions, thus facilitating the advancement from reactive to preventative road maintenance," the company's website informs.

Essentially, the robot vehicle will feature wheels encolosed inside a rubber circle - much like a battle tank. It will also come fitted with a small road roller which may be deployed to fix smaller defects.

The project, in partnership with University of Liverpool and A2E Industries, could become a reality on roads at some point in 2021 even though the instant road-fix service may take a while longer. "The team at Robotiz3d has the expertise and experience in robotics and AI to deliver the project and introduce world-leading innovation to the management of roads and highways," Lisa Layzell, co-founder and CEO of Robotiz3d, was quoted as saying by DailyMail.

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