Prototype line crawler for power line inspection

29 July 2016

In South Africa, electricity is supplied through thousands-of-kilometers of overhead power cables, which is owned by Eskom the national energy supplier. Currently monitoring of these overhead power cables are done by means of helicopter inspection flights and foot patrols, which are infrequent and expensive. In this paper, the authors present the design of a prototype power line crawler (inspection robot) for the monitoring of these overhead power lines in South Africa. The designed prototype power line crawler is capable of driving on the wire, balancing on the wire and is capable of maneuvering past certain obstacles found on the overhead power cables. The prototype power line crawler is designed to host a monitoring system that monitors the power line as the inspection robot drives on it. Various experimental tests were performed and are presented in this paper, showing the capability of performing these tasks. This prototype inspection robot ensures a platform for future development in this area