How AI is paving the way to smoother streets using autonomous robots

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re cruising down the road, enjoying a smooth ride, when suddenly — wham — you hit a pothole? 

It jolts your car and reminds you of the never-ending battle against these road menaces.

Well, that scenario could be over very soon. 

Tech firm Robotiz3d is developing three technologies as part of its Autonomous Road Repair System (ARRES).

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The pothole-preventing robot  (Hertfordshire)

ARRES Eye: Detecting surface problems

The ARRES Eye technology, a pivotal component of the system, is strategically installed on various vehicles, including buses, trucks and maintenance vehicles. As these vehicles make their way through city streets and urban environments, they meticulously scan road surfaces for signs of distress.

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A pothole-preventing robot  (Hertfordshire)

By leveraging advanced imaging technology, ARRES Eye identifies surface issues such as cracks, potholes and other damage. It identifies their exact location, assesses their severity and prioritizes repair tasks. The collected data is logged into a central database for management.

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Pothole prevention data  (Hertfordshire)

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ARRES Prevent: The pothole-preventing robot

ARRES Prevent combines artificial intelligence (AI) and an unmanned robotic vehicle to tackle potholes head-on. The compact electric robo vehicle, approximately the size of a small van, patrols roads day and night. Equipped with autonomous driving abilities, it navigates streets independently or under remote human guidance.

A waypoint navigation system guides the vehicle from one point to another. As an added safety feature, it can be remotely controlled, monitored or stopped.

When ARRES Prevent detects small cracks in road surfaces, it promptly seals them using innovative materials. By preventing water infiltration, it stops potholes from forming due to rain and frost. Real-time repair data is recorded for quality control, ensuring effective maintenance. Notably, the prototype of this system has successfully completed its inaugural live trial in the U.K.

Robotiz3d developed this autonomous robot. The University of Liverpool and Hertfordshire County Council Highways Engineers also collaborated on it. 

Pothole-preventing robot  (Hertfordshire)

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ARRES Ultra: Taking road repair to the next level

As Robotiz3d continues its mission, it’s developing the ARRES Ultra, a robust machine designed for more extensive repairs: The ARRES Ultra will address larger surface cracks and fully grown potholes. Its capabilities include site preparation, precise filling of problem areas and compacting the repaired surface for a seamless finish. Rigorous testing and refinement will pave the way for full-scale production, promising a revolution in road maintenance.

Pothole repair robot (Hertfordshire)

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How the robots promise to save time and money

Potholes impact everyone, whether cyclists or motorists. Traditional maintenance methods are costly, labor-intensive and outright dangerous for a road crew. ARRES promises efficiency and cost savings. Nipping potholes in the bud could transform road maintenance across the U.K. and beyond.

Pothole-preventing robot  (Hertfordshire)

How the pothole robot went from research to reality

The University of Liverpool’s School of Engineering laid the groundwork for ARRES. After four years of dedicated research, a spinoff company, Robotiz3d, emerged in 2020, driven by the vision of AI-driven robotic maintenance. Innovate UK recognized its potential and provided funding in 2021, propelling ARRES from theory to practical application. Since then, other organizations, including Horizon Europe, CERN, the Department For Transport in the UK(DFT) and the CAM UK program, have provided funding. 

A robot that prevents potholes (Hertfordshire)

Kurt’s key takeaways

As ARRES takes its first steps on the roads, we’re witnessing a leap forward in infrastructure management. With this AI-powered robot, potholes may soon become a thing of the past. Robotiz3d says this is a local innovation with global potential. So, next time you drive or cycle, remember, behind the scenes, ARRES could soon be silently working to keep our roads smooth and safe for you.

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Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business beginning mornings on “FOX & Friends.” Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s free CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.

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