Imagine driving down the road without avoiding the endless supply of potholes. They seem to pop up everywhere and crews can’t fix them fast enough. Using artificial intelligence, a new pothole-repairing robot may have a solution to the bumpy problem.

ARRES Prevent

ARRES Prevent, the pothole-preventing robot; Photo: Hertfordshire CC

Meet the Autonomous Road Repair System (ARRES) Prevent, the newest piece of road repair equipment in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, England. Said to be the world’s first, ARRES Prevent uses imaging technology and artificial intelligence to detect and repair potholes. On March 6, the AI robot completed a test run repairing potholes on the roads in Potters Bar. It was the first out-of-lab trial the robot did.

According to the Hertfordshire County Council, the trial run is a positive step forward towards fixing the pothole problem. Councilor Reena Ranger said, “After another wet winter, we know we’re likely to see an increase in potholes forming as the road surface recovers from water getting into cracks.” Ranger and the other Councilmembers believe the repairing robot could potentially prevent potholes from forming, using cutting-edge technology.

With the help of AI, ARRES identifies cracks in the road, potholes, or any damage to the pavement. It then automatically fills the cracks or damages to prevent a pothole from forming or worsening. Filling in the cracks and holes prevents water from seeping in, ultimately preventing potholes.


Saving Time and Money

Close-up of ARRES Prevent fixing roads and preventing potholes; Photo: Hertfordshire CC

Because the robot is fully autonomous, the Hertfordshire County Council believes it will save people time and money. Most importantly, it reduces the inconvenience of potholes for drivers. Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne MP said, “It is said a stitch in time saves nine, and that prevention is better than cure – and likewise stopping cracks from growing into potholes could save a lot of future maintenance work.”

The next step for ARRES Prevent is more trials to ensure the autonomous robot can efficiently do the job. Both the County Council and developers, Robotiz3d, believe it can. The co-founder of Robotiz3d Sebastiano Fichera said, “We are dedicated to our mission to help build a safe and sustainable road infrastructure through intelligent, and automated maintenance and repair.” Both the robotics company and the County Council want this new technology to revolutionize road maintenance in Potters Bar and across the globe.

Brown said, “This innovative technology has the potential to transform how we perform road maintenance and enhance the driver experience across Hertfordshire and beyond.”

Hertfordshire County Council and Robotiz3d explained that work is underway on a larger version of the road repair robot that fixes a wider range of road damage.