The maintenance of high-voltage power lines could in the future be entrusted to drones able to run along the cables to monitor their operation.
The first step in this direction is the Aerial-Core project, which aims to develop innovative robotic solutions to eliminate the risks for operators related to the maintenance of high voltage power lines.
Funded by the European Commission with 8.6 million euros, the project has among its partners the Prisma Lab of the Federico II University of Naples, coordinated by Bruno Siciliano.
The project is coordinated by the Grvc Robotics Laboratory of the Spanish University of Seville and has among the partners the Consortium Create (Research Consortium for Energy, Automation and Electromagnetic Technologies) and the spinoff Neabotics of Vincenzo Lippiello, of Federico II University of Naples.
"The greatest difficulty is represented by the creation of systems that can withstand contact with high voltage power lines, at thousands of volts, without destroying the electronics on board the drone", Lippiello observes. "The aircraft under development - he adds - will be equipped with two ultra-light robotic arms capable of working partially autonomously for the execution of complex tasks, such as the assembly of bird deterrents, spacers, charging stations for drones and for cleaning the insulators of high voltage lines .
Thanks to the Aerial-Core project - concludes the researcher - we are creating aerial technologies that can operate remotely and in absolute safety conditions, with a level of dexterity and strength comparable to that of a human operator ".