True grit

Published: Monday 31 August 1998

A programmer at Sandia National Laboratories in California has recently patented a machine that can mend holes in the road auto-matically. About the size of a single-decker bus, the Rapid Road Repair Vehicle, as it is called, scans the road using an array of sensors on its bumpers. When it detects a pothole or a crack, it first cleans up the area with a high-pressure air hose, then proceeds to vacuum up any debris. A rilling material, such as aggregate, is then tamped into place with a fast sealant and dusted with grit to pro-vide grip.

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