A 3D printing robot on wheels could be a solution to potholed roads in the future, according to reports.
An article in Popular Science describes the Addibot, a robot combining a four-wheeled vehicle and additive manufacturing. The robot, designed by Bob Flitsch – a 2015 graduate of Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences – can store tar materials at high temperatures and print these out via an array of nozzles to fix a damaged road.
By making 3D printing mobile, Flitsch told the interviewer, it overcame limits on a printed object’s build size.
"If you take additive manufacturing implements and make them mobile, you can print objects of arbitrary size," Flitsch told Popular Science, adding that storing and mixing tar were possible.
"Tar materials, which have to be kept at a high temperature, can be done in a tank with a constant heat source added to it. Power sources could be various kinds, depending on the size of the robot," he said.
According to the article, the Addibot, can operate in remote controlled or self-driving modes.
An earlier version (see video below) was used by Flitsch, a lifelong ice hockey fan, to repair divots on the surface of an ice rink.
Planned newer models will be able to use “different materials to repair many other types of surfaces”.