British AI startup Academy of Robotics and Eurovia UK will partner to trial Kar-go, an autonomous vehicle for highways maintenance.

Academy of Robotics’ Kar-go is a road-based autonomous delivery vehicle. The trial is aimed at supporting urban and rural highway management and accelerating the technology’s deployment for navigation on unmarked UK roads.

Eurovia UK aims to test the technology to automate the delivery of small plant equipment, tools, materials and other components to and from a highway work site.

Data collected by Kar-go may also be used to determine road conditions.

Eurovia UK will help Academy of Robotics to scale its training of autonomous vehicles by accessing digital camera data gathered by the company’s UK fleet, which covers more than 50,000km of roads.

The trial will initially focus on the UK, with significant potential for international expansion in Europe and North America.

Academy of Robotics CEO and co-founder William Sachiti said: “We believe that training our vehicles to operate on the widest range of real-world conditions is critical to preparing them for the unpredictable elements vehicles may face in the ‘real world’.

“The AI can process the data at immense speeds, so one of the biggest challenges holding back this technology is the ability to get hold of enough data on diverse conditions to train vehicles at scale.”

Academy of Robotics’ technology can detect potential hazards in the path, as well as the likely causes of road surface deterioration.

The collaboration is expected to provide a proactive, ‘smart’ approach for detecting highway defects and preventing hazards.

Kar-go vehicle technology has been designed specifically for making deliveries and uses a ‘terrain-training’ approach.