So drones could be fixing our potholes in Leeds - albeit we’ll have to wait a few years until they’re up and running.
As a city we have a growing reputation for being at the cutting edge of digital technology, and so having “robo road repairs” would fit with a forward-thinking city like ours.
The idea will be that drones will be patrolling the streets spotting and filling holes as they first appear - when they’re the size of a 50p.
Potholes are a hotly-contested problem, the damage they cause costs motorists, bus operators, lorries and so on, but filling them has been a manual job and councils have struggled to keep up with the task, particularly after very cold winters when ice, snow and salting the roads exacerbates the situation.
In Leeds it’s a significant problem - over 10,000 holes were reported to the council between 2014 and 2017. The drones being developed, which could also repair street lights or utility pipes, are all part of a wider scientific programme called ‘Self-Repairing Cities’ which has the ambitious aim of ensuring there is no disruption from streetworks in UK cities by 2050. The vision for the project states: “With the aid of Leeds City Council, we want to make Leeds the first city in the world that is fully maintained autonomously by 2035.” Potholes mended will be welcomed, jobs lost won’t be.