Researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute developed a road repair system that aims to extend the lifespan of roadways by filling cracks as they appear. If feasible, the system could replace large road crews and perform the same repairs faster, cheaper and safer.

Driven by a single truck driver, the system’s stereoscopic camera takes two photos of the road and builds a “crack map” within 100 milliseconds. Driving at three mph the system then controls 12 nozzles that spray sealant into cracks that can be smaller than an eighth of an inch. Tests showed the system identified 83 percent of road cracks.

Researchers plan to improve the system by refining the crack detection feature so the system is not fooled by oil stains, lane stripes, raised pavement markers and other objects. Researchers also plan to build a full-scale prototype that will be used on a 13-foot-wide stretch of road and maybe incorporate a 3-D laser scanner.

Read more about the road repair system in the write-up by the Georgia Tech Research Institute.