The English city of Leeds is about to become the envy of any driver who has ever cursed crumbling potholes. The University of Leeds has won a $6.4 million grant to create pothole-seeking drones that will swoop into action when infrastructure repairs are needed. Is this real life?

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Phil Purnell, professor at the university’s School of Civil Engineering, explains, “We want to make Leeds the first city in the world to have zero disruption from street works.” The goal of the imaginative project is for the drones to be able to detect minute imperfections in the roadways and to intervene before the holes grow to dangerous sizes. This sort of program is what every city needs, whether the repairmen are actual men or drones.

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The robot repairmen will fit into three different categories: “Perch and Repair” drones will take on above-ground infrastructure repair, such as street lamps. “Perceive and Patch” robots will be devoted to pothole repair and “Fire and Forget” machinery will perform “inspection, repair, metering and reporting” in underground pipe systems. The whole project is rather ambitious, yet the team is confident about being able to replace costly and cumbersome street repairs and to create safer roadways with the most futuristic technologies.

Via Fast Company

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