Potholes are a real nuisance when you drive. Thanks to an upcoming robot being developed by a UK-based startup, the tell-tale signs of what may develop into these depressions in the road caused by wear or subsidence have been spotted earlier – so they never evolve are allowed into potentially dangerous potholes.
"We build with A.I. an advanced system for convergence of robotics. Technology that automatically identifies, characterizes and measures potholes on the go, while using a mathematical model to predict the development of the defects found, especially cracks, ”said Sebastiano Fichera, Technical Director of Robotiz3d, to Digital Trends. “The prediction function can help prioritize repair tasks that are currently being performed based on human judgment and experience. Predictions also allow for early intervention to prevent cracks from developing into potholes. "
Fichera suggested that it would be useful to develop problems on the road, but said the robot can go one step further – by automatically filling in smaller cracks when needed.
Fichera painted a science fiction picture of the road of the future that, with autonomous cars and delivery robots moving on the sidewalk already in operation, could be far closer than many think.
"We imagine a team of our vehicles patrolling our streets autonomously, repairing cracks and potholes as soon as they appear," he said. “There is no need to close the road as the technology we have developed enables speed damage detection and quick repairs. When a pothole is detected, our vehicle stops, indicates its presence and completes the repair within minutes. The vehicles can operate continuously for several hours without charging. Our road condition assessment technology can also be integrated into existing vehicles such as garbage collectors and taxis, providing a continuous stream of data to support road manager decisions. "
Robotiz3d is a spin-out from the University of Liverpool, where Fichera is a lecturer in aerospace engineering. He said the company intends to launch its road damage detection unit in six months and have the crack-filling micro-repair unit operational by the end of 2021.
This isn't the first time Digital Trends has covered pothole protection technology. A couple of years ago we wrote about a similar concept for filling potholes, only this time with autonomous drones.