Arres Prevent robot uses advanced AI to fight potholes

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A UK-based startup called Robotiz3d claims it’s invented a world’s first: an autonomous electric vehicle that can detect and seal cracks in a road’s surface to prevent potholes from forming.

Robotiz3d’s Arres Prevent robot is designed to patrol city streets, searching for cracks and potholes using an advanced AI. Once it finds them, Prevent notes their location, shape, and severity.

The company says that capturing and analyzing that data will help reduce the time, cost, emissions, and material waste typically associated with road maintenance and repair services. They also predict that their automated workflows will enable faster fixes and a generally better experience for drivers — by saving them money.

“This is a true innovation that can help the UK save public money and save hassle for the citizens,” Amin Amiri, CEO of Robotiz3d investors, a2e Industries. “We’re confident in Robotiz3d and its highly capable engineering and management team to bring this much-needed technology to market.”

According to Robotiz3d, potholes cost US drivers $26 billion per year in vehicle damage, lost time, and repair costs.

It’s a data play

A worker analyzes Robotiz3d’s AI-collected data; via Robotiz3d.

“The Robotiz3d solution will autonomously identify and localize potholes, characterize their geometry, and collect measurements on the go,” says Dr. Paolo Paoletti, CTO of Robotiz3d. “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 prioritize work schedules, are anticipated to improve the safety and lifespan of road networks and contribute to reductions in road repair costs, fuel consumption, GHG emission, and tire wear.”

The battery-powered Arres Prevent can scour the streets autonomously or via remote operator control — which can simultaneously help address the industry-wide shortage of skilled labor while creating a safer working environment for crews that do exist.

Electrek’s Take

You have to be a little suspicious of a company that releases what appears to be and AI rendering of an AI-based product and buries pictures of the actual thing they are selling so deeply that you can’t even find them on the company’s own website (the images I did find, above, are from the Hertfordshire County Council).

That said, the Hertfordshire County Council seems impressed. “The test today is another step in the right direction towards solving the pothole problem this country faces … we’ve worked hard to fix over 40,000 potholes this year through the trial of new techniques and using this cutting-edge technology we could potentially prevent the potholes forming in the first place,” said Reena Ranger, Deputy Executive Member for Highways at Hertfordshire County Council. “We’re committed to maintaining our road network so that it remains one of the best in the country – we’re excited for the time we can welcome PREVENT officially to our team.”

The Hertfordshire road crew liked the Arres Prevent so much, they made a video. You can check that out, below.

World’s first pothole preventing robot

Here’s hoping it works out, then, and we see electrified robot road repairs become a real thing somewhat sooner than later.

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