Application of Robotic and Autonomous Systems for Road Defect Detection and Repair - A Position Paper on Future Road Asset Management

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Bilal Kaddouh
  • Mohamed Abdellatif
  • Jason Liu
  • Richard Jackson
  • Raul Fuentes
  • Mark Miodownik
  • Robert Richardson
  • Phil Purnell

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Leeds
  • UCL


The ever-growing urban population faces challenges of ageing infrastructure. The process for renewing the infrastructure is costly, and current practices for maintaining and repairing are often ineffective and labour intensive. Road networks, for instance, which act as the arteries for cities, suffer from reoccurring potholes (in the UK, a pothole is filled every 21 seconds:
Asphalt Industry Alliance, 2018).
A more effective way of maintaining road networks is through a proactive approach, where condition assessment and intervention are conducted throughout the asset lifecycle. However, there are barriers to a proactive approach, including budget constraints and the lack of effective technology for early defect detection (followed by a cheap yet effective repair). This paper puts
forward an automated system, currently in development, based on cutting-edge robotic technologies to address these barriers and help achieve an effective proactive infrastructure maintenance and repair system. Technologies developed include automated condition assessment measures to detect road defects and repair technologies using a novel 3D printing method to seal road cracks and potholes. Sealing small cracks by using 3D printing techniques has shown promising results by achieving superior mechanical properties.


Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Smart Infrastructure and Construction
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Aug 2020