DRIVERLESS cars could help the lead the fight against potholes in Oxfordshire, a top council officer will tell a conference in London today.

Llewelyn Morgan, the county council’s head of innovation, will speak at the Smart Places of the Future conference in the capital.

One of the projects he and the council are working on involves driverless cars – or connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) – and how they can help traffic movement and make roadworks more efficient.

He said: “Experimental CAV cars are fitted with special surveying equipment that measures distance to particular targets using pulsed laser light and a sensor.

“Working with Oxbotica, an autonomous vehicle software company, the team is testing this equipment, mapping Oxford’s road surfaces.

“Could the data be used quickly and accurately to identify where tarmac is breaking up?

"If so, it could help our highway maintenance teams to fix potholes and plan resurfacing work before further deterioration.

“A ‘prevention before cure’ approach has potential to save council tax payers thousands of pounds a year.”

The plan forms part of the county council’s Smart City initiative, which the authority said means it is ‘uniquely placed’ to develop new technologies for the county.

Yvonne Constance, the county council’s cabinet for environment, added: “Exciting projects are turning Oxford into a ‘living laboratory’ where we test technology, discover and develop innovative congestion solutions and promote healthy transport options.

“By working closely with industry and academics, we can help shape practical uses for ingenious high-tech innovations. It’s a win-win-win for Oxfordshire’s residents, for local businesses and university researchers.”

Other county council projects include the Smart Cycling Detection project which aims to improve cyclist safety and collects real-time data on their locations on roads.

That information could then be used to protect cyclists by warning other road users that they are nearby.

Another project could include sensors being placed on bikes and other vehicles to capture air pollution levels, with real-time digital maps to show where people could walk or cycle in areas of cleaner air.

Oxford City Council, Thames Valley Police the local NHS trusts are also involved in the Oxford Smart City project, along with Oxford’s universities.

For more information about Oxford Smart City, visit