SCOTTISH and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) are teaming up with an engineering firm to trial the use of robots for high-voltage power line inspections in a UK first.

SSEN and Williams Advanced Engineering are to design a functional specification for the first live overhead line inspection robot to be used on SSEN’s high voltage electricity networks.

The project aims to safely trial a robot system capable of making its own decisions without human control, navigating its own route as it moves seamlessly between overhead lines capturing critical asset data to inform reinforcement and maintenance requirements.

Stewart Reid, head of DSO and innovation at SSEN, said: “The use of robotics to help us inspect and maintain our network has the potential to provide enormous benefits to our customers and our people, from improvements in safety and network reliability, to reduced costs for our customers.”