Liverpool venture to use AI robots to tackle potholes

A spin-out company from the University of Liverpool, Robotiz3d has secured new investment and will look to tackle potholes with artificial intelligence and robotics. Tony McDonough reports

University of Liverpool
Robotiz3d will tackle potholes with artificial intelligence and robotics

 

Potholes are the curse of road users everywhere and now a Liverpool tech firm says it can tackle the problem with artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

Robotiz3d is a spin-out company from the University of Liverpool that will use new investment to take forward its technology which it claims with radically transform road maintenance.

It has secured funding from the university’s Enterprise Investment Fund, alongside private equity investment from a2e and will commercialise patented research from the university’s engineering robotics lab.

The technology uses AI and robotics to significantly improve the way road defects, including pot holes and road cracks, are detected and repaired. Currently, no autonomous technology exist to tackle the pothole crisis which plagues many parts of the country and is estimated to have cost more than £1bn over the last decade.

Company founders, Dr Paolo Paoletti and Dr Sebastiano Fichera, from the University’s school of engineering have an extensive track record of research in this area and have been developing and trialling the technology over the past four years.

Dr Paoletti, who will serve as chief technology officer, said: “Robotiz3d will develop an AI-driven robotic system to address the national and international potholes problems. It will be able to autonomously detect and characterise road defects such as cracks and potholes, assess and predict the severity of such defects and fix cracks so that they do not evolve into potholes.”

Dr Fichera, who will be the technical director of the venture, added: “Current methods to detect and repair of potholes are labour intensive and as such are slow, unsafe, and costly to the economy and environment.

“The new technology we are developing will make road maintenance tasks faster, cheaper, and cleaner and ultimately make roads safer and more accessible.”

The formation of the company has been supported by the University’s IP commercialisation team led by Emma Nolan, and Andrew Spencer, who works with academics in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, will take a position on the board.

Lisa Layzell, an award winning senior executive and serial entrepreneur of high-tech companies, is a co-founder and chief executive of Robotiz3d. She said: “This is an exciting new spin out to take forward.

“The team at Robotiz3d has the expertise and experience in robotics and AI to deliver the project and introduce world-leading innovation to the management of roads and highways. We have developed a robust business plan to take forward the portfolio of Robotiz3d envisaged products.”

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