A DARESBURY lab has developed the world’s first autonomous pothole fixing robot.

The AI-assisted robot will locate and fix cracks and potholes on UK roads.

The UK start-up Robotiz3d developed the robot at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, combining artificial intelligence with advanced robotics.

Almost two million potholes are fixed on UK roads annually, but with ageing infrastructure, increasing road users and extreme weather conditions, this is only expected to worsen.

Conventional and manual methods for fixing potholes are ‘labour intensive’ and ‘struggle to cope with this hazardous and costly problem’. 

Based initially on patented research developed at the University of Liverpool, this technology can analyse the geometry of potholes, collecting measurement data as it operates. 

Using AI, it couples this data with a unique prediction algorithm that will enable local authorities to predict road conditions accurately, enabling them to prioritise preventative road maintenance.

Ultimately, this will reduce the time and cost, CO2 emissions, and material wastage associated with repairing potholes and cracks, whilst improving the life span and safety of our roads.

Lisa Layzell, CEO and co-founder at Robotiz3d, said: “This is the first autonomous technology of this kind developed specifically to tackle the pothole crisis which plagues many parts of the country, and which is estimated to have cost more than £1 billion to repair over the last decade.

“For Robotiz3d, locating STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory has provided us with a technologically sophisticated environment to operate in.

"The expertise available, both in technology and business development, have been invaluable as we move towards the commercialisation phase of our business.”