Potholes could be self-repairing in the next 30 years, the Independent reports.
A Radio 4 investigation into potholes that damage cars and injure cyclists concluded that the 'crisis of cavities and craters' could lead to innovations that 'transform' the UK's infrastructure.
Dr Mujib Rahman, a former road-repair engineer, told the programme that the sum of fixing two potholes on an M25 bridge came to half a million pounds.
Professor Phil Purnell of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Leeds University, said: “By 2050 in our cities, you won’t have roads dug up, you won’t have temporary traffic lights, you won’t have holes in the roads with barriers around them.
“Our infrastructure will learn how to repair itself.”
His team at Leeds is reportedly investigating the use of drones for preventative maintenance, used to identify and prioritise the cracks that need to be fixed.
It then sends the location details to a second drone, equipped with a 3D printer which fabricates a seal to repair the road.
In November last year, it was reported that the decline in funding for minor roads cost the wider economy £2.04 billion in 2017.