High-tech drones could be used in the fight against the UK’s pothole -plagued roads, as a government-backed project to identify innovative solutions to tackle the pothole problem has recommended a trail of automated drones to seek out damaged roads.

The Sun reports that the Digital Intelligence Brokerage (DIB) said that a consortium of small and medium enterprises could make use of the ‘cutting edge approach’ to assess the condition of highways in rural and urban areas.

The DIB said that consideration would need to be given to the ‘risks of using automated equipment on or above a live highway network’.

It also recommended the use of a video app to inspect the quality of work carried out on roads and making the shape of repairs circular instead of square to reduce weak points in corners.

The DIB was tasked with collating potential solutions for Wiltshire Council, but it said the proposals could be used by ‘other local authorities across the UK’.

According to a report in March from the trade body the Asphalt Industry Alliance, councils in England and Wales need to spend £10 billion over the next decade to ensure roads are repaired and maintained.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it continues to encourage research into the use of technology to combat potholes, such as through drones to spot road defects and 3D printing to repair cracks.

AA president Edmund King warned that pothole repairs will ‘depend on council priorities and schedules’.

He said: Councils often prefer to wait until a road has reached a point where a large number of defects makes it cost-effective to repair it.

Arguably, less sophisticated reporting systems like Fix My Streetand council websites are more effective than drones because nasty defects are highlighted by the road users themselves. More should be done to advertise this type of reporting.”


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