Thursday, December 21, 2006

Robot Scampers Along Power Lines

Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a robot to crawl along power cables to inspect for damage.

The Robotic Cable Inspection System was developed by the Sensors, Energy and Automation Laboratory (SEAL) at UW.
The prototype has been tested mostly on underground cables on campus but was recently taken to Louisiana for field testing on the storm damaged network around New Orleans.

The robot is designed to check for damage on 3 inch diameter main power distribution cables. It has three types of sensors for assessing the condition of the cable insulation. It uses heat sensors, an acoustic sensor to listen for arcing, and 'fringing electric field' sensors to find 'water trees' that have seeped into the defects in the insulation. The robot also has video to show where it is as it communicates wirelessly back to the control base.

Project leader Alexander Mamishev says, ""Maintaining a distributed infrastructure -- power systems, roads, bridges, tunnels, buildings -- is a very large and costly endeavor. Over the years, maintenance costs more than construction. Our vision is that someday robots will accomplish the lion's share of maintenance tasks."

The research has been ongoing for five years. | University of Washington News and Information


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry guy but this is really mean 'cause exactly this type of robot was Built by the Univerity of Stuttgart, Germany bout 2 years ago. It's doing the exact same.

Shame on you guys.

12:12 PM, December 25, 2006  
Blogger Prospector said...

That sounds great. Can you post a link or reference where we can find out more about it?

2:24 PM, December 25, 2006  

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