Robotic ‘Pothole Police’ Autonomously Hunts Down Potholes, Fixes Cracks

UK-based startup Robotiz3d says it has reinvented road maintenance with its new autonomous pothole-detection robot.

Using artificial intelligence, the Arres Prevent robot patrols the streets in search of potholes. It tracks the location, shape and severity of existing potholes and repairs cracks before they become a bigger problem.

Capturing this data helps reduce the time, cost, emissions and material waste associated with road maintenance and repair and enables faster fixes thanks to automated workflows. According to Robotiz3d, potholes cost U.S. drivers $26 billion per year.

Dr Paolo Paoletti, CTO of Robotiz3d, said, “The Robotiz3d solution will autonomously identify and localize potholes, characterize their geometry, and collect measurements on the go. The ability to automatically deposit sealing material, fixing smaller cracks before they evolve into potholes, is also a first. These features, coupled with a prediction algorithm to help prioritize work schedules, are anticipated to improve the safety and lifespan of road networks and contribute to reductions in road repair costs, fuel consumption, GHG emission, and tire wear.”

The Arres Prevent can scour the streets driverlessly or via remote control. The battery-powered vehicle is the size of a small van.

The technology also helps address the labor shortage while creating a safer working environment for road crews because much of the work can be done without human intervention.

Amin Amiri, CEO of a2e Industries, adds, “This is a true innovation that can help the UK save public money and save hassle for the citizens. We’re confident in Robotiz3d and its highly capable engineering and management team to bring this much-needed technology to market. The technology could eventually solve one of the most endemic worldwide problems of the logistics and transport industry, with transformative impact.”

The company plans to offer its products as a Robot-as-a-Service solution, meaning upfront costs are reduced and Robotiz3d maintains all hardware and software. Data and jobs can be viewed remotely, in near real-time. 

The first successful field test of the robot was just completed in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and the Hertfordshire County Council. More tests are scheduled to refine the technology further. See the robot in action in the video below.