Drones to be used to find potholes

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If you see a drone flying overhead next year, it could be looking for potholes. Drones and 3D printing technology are being explored to help find and fix potholes faster and more effectively.

An initiative called the Digital Intelligence Brokerage (DIB) aims to encourage councils to partner with small and medium enterprises outside of the transport sector to speed up research into innovative ways to fix potholes.

DIB is encouraging:

  • automated repair operations to minimise risk to road maintenance workers
  • the use of bio-bitumen materials to create environmentally friendly road surfaces which contribute to the decarbonisation of highways maintenance
  • graphite nanoparticles in asphalt to reduce surface cracks


RAC Head of Roads Policy Nicholas Lyes said: “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.”


A new package of measures will also see councils across England receive a share of £15 million in government funding to improve their traffic light systems to cut congestion and reduce journey times and emissions.


Councils will 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.


£100,000 of funding is also being put towards the Transport Technology Forum. The open forum, funded by the DfT and Innovate UK, brings together road operators and suppliers to offer their skills and experience to drive technological advances in the traffic management sector.