The Department for Transport is aiming to tackle one of the biggest headaches for British motorists by investing in digital technology to detect and repair the hundreds of thousands of potholes that are causing chaos on UK roads.
A 2018 Freedom of Information request revealed there were 512,270 potholes reported in England, Scotland and Wales in the previous year, while last year, the Transport Select Committee claimed that £10 billion is needed for the repairs.
The DfT said the backing has come as part of the allocation of a £900,000 investment fund for research projects aimed at improving transport systems, with the initial focus on pothole repairs.
One will involve the development of an AI powered app to detect potholes in real-time, using mobile phone sensors to measure when cyclists ride over or swerve to avoid them. The DfT said it is hoped the app will help local authorities to quickly identify when potholes are forming and react quickly to fill them in.
The other, named Shape-Pot, involves creating 3D pothole models in the development of a fully autonomous repair platform capable of automatic repairs.
A DfT spokesperson said more details will be released as the programme is rolled out.
The funding was announced along with news of a much larger package, totalling £93.4 million, to support repairs on roads and bridges and help councils tackle congestion and improve journeys.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “This investment will not only help local areas to target current pinch points on their roads, but will also harness our world leading research and innovation capabilities to future proof the next generation of journeys."