18:28 13 June 2018
Using robots and drones designed to fill potholes in just one minute, roads in the United Kingdom could be “self-repairing” by 2050. The plan is to use autonomous road vehicles or drones that will be specifically designed to find and fix cracks in roads and pavements before potholes develop. The need for the technology is massive as there is currently a huge backlog of repairs on Britain’s road network.
Leeds City plans to become the pioneer in building self-repairing roads. University College London Professor Mark Miodownik confirms that the city council is now working with a team of engineers and designers to kick start the project.
"Our idea is that when these small cracks happen we want to be able to see them - a drone flying around the road network would see them - and another drone would land and repair them," he said.
"You do it at night and we can do it in about a minute. You stop over the crack, you repair the crack and it's done.
"You could stop the traffic at 4am, hold it up for a minute."
"For motorways it is a different problem but for roads in Cheltenham and bigger cities, I think night-time autonomous vehicles would have almost no impact on traffic.”