The world's first ever AI-powered pothole robot has completed its maiden road test in Hertfordshire.

A county council video showcasing the Autonomous Road Repair System (ARRES) revealed it passing “with flying colours” after a test-run near Potters Bar yesterday (March 6).

It was the first time the prototype vehicle had been used outside of a lab environment since development started in 2020.

Watford Observer: The ARRES robot in action on its first live test.The ARRES robot in action on its first live test. (Image: Hertfordshire County Council)

Officially named ARRES PREVENT, the robot uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify defects in the road and fill the cracks to keep out water, which should stop potholes from forming.  

It was developed by tech company Robotiz3d and academics from the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with council highways engineers.

Councillor Reena Ranger, deputy executive member for highways, said “The test today is another step in the right direction towards solving the pothole problem this country faces.” 

She added the council was trialling new techniques as it has fixed over 40,000 potholes this year. 

Watford Observer: The council claims it will revolutionise the way the world deals with potholes.The council claims it will revolutionise the way the world deals with potholes. (Image: Hertfordshire County Council)

“We’re committed to maintaining our road network so that it remains one of the best in the country – we’re excited for the time we can welcome PREVENT officially to our team,” she added.

HCC claims it will “revolutionise” how the world combats the issue, saving time and money while reducing disruption to drivers.

Videos from showed how its hanging arm dispenses tar onto cracks in the road. 

Technology and decarbonisation minister, Anthony Browne MP, said: “This innovative technology has the potential to transform how we perform road maintenance and enhance the driver experience across Hertfordshire and beyond. 

“It is said a stitch in time saves nine, and that prevention is better than cure - and likewise stopping cracks from growing into potholes could save a lot of future maintenance work.”

He added that the government had helped fund the development by Robotiz3d with over £30,000 from the Transport Research and Innovation Grants.

Robotiz3d co-founder and Technical Director Sebastiano Fichera said that working with the county council had accelerated the development of ARRES, "propelling us towards our goal of revolutionising road maintenance practices".