Engineers from Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) are taking part in a collaboration to develop a machine that uses AI to detect and repair and prevent potholes on roads.

Following successful testing, the Autonomous Road Repair System (ARRES), is now being prepared to undertake real-world testing on the roads of Hertfordshire.

The robot, called ARRES PREVENT, developed by tech company Robotiz3d and academics at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council Highways Engineers, is having its first venture outside of laboratory conditions.

It identifies and characterises cracks and potholes in the road and automatically fills them to keep out surface water, which helps to prevent potholes forming.

HCC says it could revolutionise the way road surfaces are dealt with in the future.

The project, the first of its kind in the world and still in its pilot phase, has been largely funded by Innovate UK.

Cllr Phil Bibby, executive member for highways for HCC, said: “We’re thrilled to be at the coalface of this exciting new technology, working with world-class tech inventors and engineers.

“We’ve long been leading the way in cracking the pothole issue and in recent times have been trialling new and improved ways to fill potholes.

“As we continue to face another cold winter, we know we’re likely to see an increase in potholes forming as the road surface gets too cold and water and ice get into cracks that have formed over time.

“Using state of the art technology to prevent the potholes forming in the first place could be exactly what we need to ensure our road network remains one of the best in the country. We know this issue matters to our residents, so it matters to us too.”

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