You don’t necessarily have to live in a cold climate to experience how roads start to deteriorate once cracks begin forming in the asphalt surface. Even more frustrating than the potholes, dips, and road erosion is the snarled traffic that results from closing lanes to repair them. Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute have developed a way to detect and quickly fix these cracks with minimal human interaction, making the process a bit less painful than before.
The automatic road patcher resides on a trailer which is towed behind a service vehicle at 5 km/h. Cameras mounted near the front of the device detect cracks down to 3mm in width using an array of LED lights to guide the way. Once a fault has been detected, nozzles mounted under the trailer blast the road with liquid tar to seal the crack before it becomes a real problem.
The system seems to work reasonably well in the tests we’ve seen, and researchers are tweaking the processing software to make the rig even more effective before rolling it out on a wider scale.