Last year we wrote about high wire inspection robot called Expliner. This robot was from a Japanese company called HiBot.
Now, the Electric Power Research Institute, or EPRI, has developed a new power line inspection robot. As the image here from the Electric Power Research Institute shows, the robot will be covered in solar panels. These panels will be used as backup power for the robot. The robots main power will come from the shield wire it will travel along.
The robot is currently six feet long and weighs 140 pounds and is not scheduled to begin commercial testing until 2014. Inspection data will be collected via satellite, while larger data, such as high resolution images, will be uploaded via cell phone lines when available.
The robot travels at about 3 miles per hour. Other countries like Japan use something called a spacer to help hold cables in place, while in Canada they may use suspension clamps. We are not sure if these are used in the United States or how this robot will get around these obstacles if needed.