Among the problems of driving in busy cities are the traffic delays caused by roadworks. Lengths of tarmac are dug up by utility companies to lay or repair pipes and cables.
London is one city that is hoping to make life easier for commuters by investing in a suite of robots to do the repairs without tearing up chunks of road.
The UK government has announced that it is investing £7.2 million (approx. $USD 9.1 million) in a group of micro-robot technology research projects.
A consortium of scientists from Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield universities are working on one-centimeter long micro-robots that will be able to locate and mend pipes and cables. It is thought that this could save the economy £5bn annually. This is what traffic closures caused by roadworks cost the country every year.
Some of the robots will be able to swim, and others will crawl. They will also be able to communicate with each other to cooperate on tasks. Additionally, the government is investing in larger robots such as drones to inspect and maintain offshore wind turbines and oil pipeline monitoring.
Science minister Chris Skidmore said: "While for now, we can only dream of a world without roadworks disrupting our lives, these pipe-repairing robots herald the start of technology that could make that dream a reality in the future.
"From deploying robots in our pipe network so cutting down traffic delays, to using robots in workplaces to keep people safer, this new technology could change the world we live in for the better."