A branch of State Grid in Fuzhou, capital of southeastern China’s Fujian Province, has deployed what media said is the first robot dog to inspect an electricity cable tunnel in the province.
The quadruped robot, which was supplied by Hangzhou-headquartered startup DEEP Robotics (云深处科技), was put through its paces in the underground section of a 220kV substation, where the cables are stored.
The robot, known as X20, is expected to complement or replace manual inspections.
Traditionally, inspections in the energy sector are performed by human employees, who make routine patrols of facilities and keep a written record of vital readings on electrical instruments.
Over the past few years, this practice has become increasingly obsolete amid a labor shortage, compounded by an aging work force in the electricity industry.
Therefore, electricity inspection has emerged as one of the main applications of quadrupeds, with DEEP Robotics leading the industry in the number of client adoptions.
Its robots can now be found in scenarios ranging from inspection to emergency response, and from rescue operation to geological mapping.
According to the company, X20, laden with mounts like depth cameras and high-precision lidars, navigates all kinds of complex terrains, capable of traversing obstacles and staircases with a height of 20cm and ascending a 30-degree slope.
As the robot climbs up and down stairs, it rotates the camera and lidar and trains them on the electricty cables and equipment in need of screening.
By introducing quadrupeds to automate the inspection work, they not just enhance efficiency for clients, but enable them to better manage equipment lifecycle, DEEP Robotics said in a statement.
This approach also can weed out 95% of cable defects, heating risks, underground blaze or other glitches, local media reported, citing local State Grid operators.
As it moves around, the robot relays information collected real-time to a remote platform for analysis, sounding the alarm to alert maintenance personnel in the case of a red flag.