Engineers at Facebook have developed a robot that can install fiber cables on medium-voltage power lines, in an effort to lower costs for Internet service providers seeking to build out their networks.
The robot, called Bombyx, weaves streamlined fiber cables around existing lines. Facebook said taking advantage of existing electrical infrastructure significantly reduces the cost of fiber deployment.
Facebook engineers worked with ULC Robotics on the robot's design.
Bombyx can clear obstacles like insulators on the pole without human assistance, and can wrap a kilometer of fiber around power lines in about 90 minutes.
Facebook plans to nonexclusively license the technology and launch a pilot program in 2021 with partners taht will manufacture and sell the robot.
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