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UK University Gets $6.5 Million to Develop Pothole-Monitoring Drone

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Why is a Pothole Called a Pothole?

The University of Leeds received a grant to create a drone that will make sure roads never look like this

Even in our technologically innovative times, potholes are a major nuisance. They are monitored by human eyes, repaired by human hands, and can ruin your alignment in a split second. But what if we could make potholes almost obsolete?


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That’s exactly what the University of Leeds’ National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems wants to do. According to Popular Science, the British university recently won a $6.5 million (£4.2 million) grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop three different drones. Each drone will have a specific job repairing a part of our cities’ infrastructures.

The first drone will repair structures like street lights and telephone poles, perching like a bird to catch problems within tall structures. Another will travel through sewer and utility pipes, fixing and maintaining them. Possibly the most important drone, though, is one that will not only patrol streets for potholes, but also work to repair and prevent them.

Potholes Toy Story

“Our robots will undertake precision repairs and avoid the need for large construction vehicles in the heart of our cities,” said Dr. Rob Richardson, director of the National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems at Leeds. “We will use the unique capabilities of our robotic facility to make new, more capable robots.”


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Before the robots are unleashed on the world, the university has explicitly stated each will be thoroughly tested. Leeds will be the first city to use these robots for obvious reasons, as the university’s researchers attempt to make Leeds the first city in the world with zero disruption from road work.

News Source: Popular Science; University of Leeds

  • Caitlin MoranEditor

    A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Caitlin Moran has somehow found herself settled in Edinburgh, Scotland. When she’s not spending her days trying to remember which side of the road to drive on, Caitlin enjoys getting down and nerdy with English. She continues to combine her love of writing with her love of cars for The News Wheel, while also learning more about the European car market—including the fact that the Seat brand is pronounced “se-at” not “seat” as you might think. See more articles by Caitlin.