Pipe-Repairing Robots Seen to Eliminate the Need for Major Roadworks in the UK


Roadworks in the UK to be completed by ROBOTS – £26m invested in new scheme

ROBOTS may soon be able to repair roads – without digging them up or closing roads.
By Matt Drake / 

The Government said today it is investing millions into the development of futuristic micro-robots.
The devices are designed to work in underground pipe networks and dangerous sites like nuclear-decommissioning facilities.
These mini-robots, being developed in British universities, could spell the end for many disruptive and expensive roadworks, as robots carry out repairs without the need to dig up the roads.
It is hoped that the 1cm-long devices will use sensors and navigation systems to find and mend cracks in pipes, avoiding disruption from roadworks estimated to cost the economy £5billion a year.)
Science minister Chris Skidmore announced investment of £26.6m to develop the robots.
He said: “While for now we can only dream of a world without roadworks disrupting our lives, these pipe-repairing robots herald the start of technology that could make that dream a reality in the future.
"From deploying robots in our pipe network so cutting down traffic delays, to using robots in workplaces to keep people safer, this new technology could change the world we live in for the better.
"Experts in our top UK universities across the country are well equipped to develop this innovative new technology."
VESTMENT: Science minister Chris Skidmore announced investment of £26.6m (Pic: UK Parliament)
“Artificial intelligence will revolutionise the way we carry out complex and dangerous tasks”
Professor Sir Mark Walport

The new funding comes from the Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
UKRI chief executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: "The projects announced today demonstrate how robots and artificial intelligence will revolutionise the way we carry out complex and dangerous tasks, from maintaining offshore wind farms to decommissioning nuclear power facilities.
"They also illustrate the leading role that the UK's innovators are playing in developing these new technologies which will improve safety and boost productivity and efficiency."
Researchers will also test new technologies using drones for oil pipeline monitoring and artificial intelligence software to detect the need for repairs on satellites in orbit.
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