SphereBot UAV does the dangerous job of powerline inspection
At a conference hosted by the Sacramento California Student Branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a team led by Rebecca Wingo who came up with the idea of this sphere like robot, impressed everyone present there. This semi-autonomous robot is specifically built for assisting personnel who have to inspect power lines which is quite a risky task considering the volume of electricity passing through those lines. Add to that the distance at which these power lines are installed, almost 100 feet off the ground. No doubting that so many personnel have succumb to the dangers that come with this tedious task.
To overcome these woes, SphereBot flies up to the power line, makes all the inspections and provides a real time feed of all that it can see back to the control station. SphereBot has an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that keeps the robot stable and an onboard computer controls all the flying elements like servo motors.
The project is also about deploying a Line Crawler that is controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer and microcontroller for faster data acquisition.
Currently the team is making efforts to design a carbon fiber frame for the SphereBot which will make it robust and light-weight, fit for other genre of missions too.
Just want add that this flying robot looks very similar to the flying RC Space Ball which is just another high-tech toy for the geek kids.