Facebook and partners develop fiber deploying crawler robot

August 05, 2020
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In an effort to lower the costs of fiber-optic cable deployment in developing countries, Facebook Connectivity partnered with ULC Robotics to develop a crawling robot that could wrap lightweight fiber cable around medium-voltage power lines. Compared to existing methods of aerial fiber construction, which heavily rely on human labor, Facebook claims this autonomous system can reduce deployment costs 3× to 5×. The robotic solution requires high autonomy to lift itself over insulators and other obstacles and a safe design for humans to load the robot while deployed on live lines. While the incentive for electric utilities to participate is not entirely clear, clients interested in automated line maintenance should engage with Facebook.

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