Students at the Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) are working on a robot that will be able to fill up holes in the roadbed, TPU announced.
To identify and address a problem, the robot will be expected to “see” with a machine vision system which will help it recognize the key elements on any road, whether it’s road marking, traffic lights, or signs. The prototype that is being currently developed can pinpoint roadbed holes by “seeing” a difference in color. The robot can fill up holes with a special emulsion, using jet injection technology.
“When right next to a hole, the robot must scan it for dimensions and depth, and then release an emulsion. It will help bring maximum automation to road repairs. We expect to make the robot capable of asking an operator for authorization to start fixing a hole. It’s a completely new working condition for humans; an operator won’t have to be right on the spot and he could run several such robots simultaneously,” said Vsevolod Rachis, a second-year cybernetics student and the project leader at TPU.
His team is currently working on two prototypes. One is helping fine-tune machine vision, and the other is responsible for mechanics and movement experiments.
“The prototypes have their movement system ready; they already can receive information from sensors; and I’m working on the code to enable basic recognition elements,” the student said.
The effort has recently received two-year grant backing from Russia’s Bortnik Fund, a 23-year-old government-owned fund to support pre-seed lab-stage tech developments. The students expect to use the grant to first develop a small prototype capable of showing all stages of work in detail. An operational prototype to follow will be much bigger, the size of a truck, as it will have to carry containers with an emulsion and road metal to last for a whole working day.