While some are experimenting with high-tech ways to fill the pothole once it pops up — like using a 3D printer and a drone to fix a crack almost instantly or creating asphalt that will repair itself with a little extra heat — others are looking at better ways to monitor the problem that costs Americans millions annually in road and vehicle repairs.
In Pittsburgh, East Liberty-based RoadBotics already has a platform called RoadWay that uses a smartphone and machine learning to tell governments, municipalities and other stakeholders which of their roads are in bad shape or are on their way there.
This month, it is rolling out a software update meant get even deeper into the pavement. Now repair teams using its tools should be able to pinpoint the exact locations of road “distresses,” like potholes, patches and cracks. “Having this tool lets you come in with scalpel precision,” promised co-founder and president Benjamin Schmidt.