Today, potholes are monitored and repaired slowly, by human eyes and hands. The Univerity of Leeds just won $6.5 million (£4.2m) to turn that work over to robots.

Popular Science reports that the University of Leeds’ National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems recently won the grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop three kinds of infrastructure drones.

  • One drone would be able to perch like a bird or bat to repair high up structures, like street lights.
  • Another drone would patrol streets for potholes, filling them as it goes.
  • The final drone would rove around sewer and utility pipes, repairing them endlessly. This drone’s service life is defined as “indefinite,” which does sound remarkably soul-crushing.

Good thing robots have no souls. (As far as we know.)

The idea, as the University’s press release notes, it to make a city where infrastructure is repaired without any disruption whatsoever.