Skip to main content

World first autonomous robot for tackling the pothole problem with artificial intelligence

A UK start-up has developed the world’s first autonomous robot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to locate and fix cracks and potholes on UK roads.

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.

World-first technology

Start-up company, Robotiz3d, has developed, and is about to commercialise, world-first technology designed to automate and transform road maintenance, making it faster, safer and more cost-effective.

Located at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory, at Sci-Tech Daresbury in the Liverpool City Region, Robotiz3d has combined AI with advanced robotics to develop an autonomous vehicle that will locate and fix cracks and potholes in the road.

Using advanced detection and repair technologies incorporated into the AI robotics system, the autonomous vehicle can assess and predict the severity of defects, sealing them before they worsen.

UK patented technology

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.

From concept to market

At Daresbury Laboratory, Robotiz3d has gained flexible and affordable access to the advanced manufacturing facilities and dedicated business support available on site.

This has included the opportunity to create a bespoke laboratory to develop its prototype, including space for the essential testing of its autonomous vehicle.

With official testing now underway, the company is making substantial progress towards commercialising its technology.

Invaluable business support

Throughout the process, access to dedicated business support, including health and safety requirements and networking opportunities has also been invaluable to Robotiz3d’s progress.

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 to 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.”

Economic and societal benefits

Paul Vernon, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, said:

“For a small company, turning an initial idea into a viable commercial reality that can compete on a global scale can be an enormous challenge.

At STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, we are providing companies with affordable access to the best skills and facilities in engineering R&D so that they can develop their new technologies faster, more affordably, and with less risk.

“I’m extremely proud to be providing the Robotiz3d with the right environment and support to develop and commercialise this world-leading technology, that has the potential to transform the management and safety of our roads and highways.

“Robotiz3d is an exceptional example of how cutting edge technologies can be applied to the benefit of both society and the UK economy.”

Get involved

Visit the Sci-Tech Daresbury website for further information about STFC support for early stage businesses across the UK. For more information about business incubation opportunities at STFC, and how they can benefit your company, visit the STFC website.

Businesses can apply to be located at Sci-Tech Daresbury, Harwell Campus or the Higgs Centre for Innovation, Edinburgh.

To learn more about Robotiz3d and its ground breaking technology, visit the Robotiz3d website.