DfT to look into use of drones and 3D printing to fix potholes

The UK's Department for Transport (DfT) has announced a multi-million-pound scheme to improve traffic signals and explore how new technology could be used to find and fix potholes among other things.

DfT to look into use of drones and 3D printing to fix potholes
Photo: Editor5807, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The DfT says the package will see councils across England receive a share of £15 million in government funding to improve their traffic light systems to cut congestion, boost safety and reduce journey times and emissions.

In addition, the government’s new Digital Intelligence Brokerage (DIB) initiative, which aims to encourage more work with small and medium enterprises outside of the transport sector, is to speed up its research into new and innovative ways to fix potholes. The DfT states that the work supports wider government commitments to use advanced technology such as drones to spot defects in roads and 3D printing to repair cracks.

Commenting on the announcement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Whether you’re a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian, every road-user across our country deserves the best possible journey. That’s why, despite already having some of the best and safest roads in the world, this government is providing millions of pounds to improve them further still. This vital funding and work will cut journey times for millions of people, reduce emissions and keep the UK at the forefront of technological developments in roads maintenance as we continue to invest in local economies and build back both better and greener from the pandemic.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC Head of Roads Policy, also commented on the announcement, adding that the investment is “very welcome”:

Additional investment to cut congestion and make pothole repairs better for the future is very welcome. Improving traffic lights can make a significant difference to local roads by efficiently maximising the number of vehicles that can safely pass through junctions while hitting a pothole can be an expensive and even a dangerous experience. We look forward to seeing how drivers and road users more widely can benefit from the use of 21st-century technology to repair their local roads more quickly.

In a statement, the Dft said that councils would be expected to not only use the extra funding to repair and improve existing traffic signals, but also consider how to future-proof their local road networks and prepare for technological innovations.


Photo: Editor5807, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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