4th November 2020
University spin out, Robotiz3d, is to begin developing the world’s first autonomous robot to patrol the streets in search of potholes, following successful private investment.
This innovation is set to revolutionise the maintenance of UK roads by local authorities and private highways maintenance companies; Robotiz3d has already mooted commercial interest from within the public and private sectors.
This first equity round for Robotiz3d involves a cash injection from a2e Industries and the University of Liverpool. It is exciting news for road users, with the company set to bring world-leading innovation to roads and motorways, specifically targeting the crackdown of potholes.
Potholes are the bane of UK motorists causing damage to vehicles and cost to councils. Almost two million potholes are fixed every year, yet more are appearing on UK roads each day. Conventional and manual methods are inefficient and cannot cope with this spiralling problem. Robotiz3d promises true innovation to overcome these challenges.
Backed by four years of research, and two patent pending technologies, the Robotiz3d solution could see autonomous robots with artificial intelligence scouring UK roads with the ability to identify existing potholes and repair cracks before they have chance to develop.
Dr Paolo Paoletti, CTO, Robotiz3d, said, “The Robotiz3d solution will autonomously identify and localise potholes, characterise 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 prioritise work schedules, are anticipated to improve the safety and lifespan of road networks, make maintenance tasks COVID-resilient, and contribute to reductions in road repair costs, fuel consumption, GHG emission, and tyre wear.”
Amin Amiri, CEO of a2e Industries, commented, “This is a true innovation that can help the UK save public money and save hassle for the citizen. 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.”
Efforts to partner end-user organisations to ensure meaningful product development have also kick started. Hertfordshire County Council is currently leading the pack in collaborative activities with the company and is not only one of the leading highways asset management practitioners in the UK, but also winner of the `Best Use of New Technology in the Highway Industry 2019’. Phil Bibby, Executive Member for Highway and Environment said: “We are delighted to offer our expertise and help embed real life practical requirements into the development. It’s exciting to be part of the progress and we are keen to trial the prototype.”