Researchers at Leeds University in England have created a national infrastructure project worth PS4.2 million. This research involves robots that can fix potholes and streetlights. Prof. Phil Purnell from the School of Civil Engineering, and his colleagues will create small robots that can detect infrastructure problems and fix them. Jo Johnson, Universities and Science Minister announced that the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will fund this project. As we lie down, robots will find potholes on our roads and repair them. They will begin by creating new technologies and robots in the following areas. – Repair and Perch: Drones that are able to perch on tall structures such as birds will be developed and used for repair jobs, like fixing street lamps. – Perceive, Patch and Repair: Drones that autonomously detect, fix, and repair potholes on roads will be developed. – Fire, Foreget: Robots that can operate within utility pipes to inspect, repair, and meter them as well as perform reporting tasks. Leeds will be the location for testing. The UK Collaboration for Research in Infrastructure and Cities and Leeds City Council will collaborate with them to make sure that this technology passes safety and legal tests before it is used in Leeds. Imagine driving if there was no need to build roads or fix utilities pipes. Professor Purnell stated that Leeds should be the first major city to experience no disruption due to streetworks. “We can make disruptions caused by constant digging in cities obsolete by supporting infrastructure that can be completely maintained by robots.” Dr. Richardson, Director of the National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems (University). Rob Richardson said: “Detecting weaknesses and faults early is key to quickly performing smart repairs. The robots can perform precise repairs without the use of large vehicles. Our robotic facility will allow us to create new and more powerful robots.” Judith Blake (Leader of Leeds City Council) said that she was delighted to collaborate with University of Leeds in this exciting, groundbreaking project. When the Minister visited Leeds in June 2015., Joe Norton (a PhD student) spoke to Jo Johnson MP to discuss the university’s robotic system. Image: leeds.ac.uk. “We look forwards to following its developments as part of an relationship between the city and the university. The project called Balancing the Impact of City Infrastructure Engineering On Natural Systems using Robots” will monitor and report on the social, economic and political impacts of the new technologies in Leeds. Raul Fuentes from the School of Civil Engineering said that “the critical aspect of this project was being proactive rather than react.” It is essential to ensure we have resilient and sustainable infrastructure. Our interventions will be invisible to the eye so they don’t become real problems.” Minister Jo Johnson stated during her visit to Cambridge that the One Nation Government is investing in top-quality science and engineering throughout the country. The UK should be the place where innovation is the greatest. This PS4.2 million funding will allow researchers from all over the country to collaborate with each other.
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