If you happen to work for the local municipal council, where part of your job scope involves inspecting high voltage transmission lines and fixing any faults that are there, surely you would know by now that this is one dangerous gig to be involved in. Well, nice to know that robots are being roped in to help you out – but hopefully they won’t be so darned good in their job that you would find yourself in the unemployment line. Hibot Corp. of Japan showed off their prototype “Expliner”, which is actually a robot who is capable of inspecting high-voltage transmission lines. Expliner was one of the robots on display at the recently concluded International Robot Exhibition 2011.

It’s history lies in a co-development effort with The Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc., Kanden Engineering Corp., J-Power Systems Corp. and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where the Expliner is capable of dangling itself on a power transmission line, while moving from one end to the other using a roller as it shoots a video of the line with a camcorder. Its agility enables it to be up and about on a high-voltage transmission line without having to stop power transmission and bypass cable spacers, and will be controlled remotely by an operator. Will the Expliner catch on in the real world? Only time will tell…

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