The Facebook team announced a new experiment to help bring the internet to developing countries at a lower cost.
It is a robot that can move along the lines of the electrical network to deploy a fiber optic cable as it passes. And in that way, develop the infrastructure for the internet.
This new dynamic will allow internet providers to extend their networks quickly and less costly than implementing traditional methods. As shown in the video shared by Facebook, this robot moves along the power line as it loops the fiber optic cable around the line.
The robot is also prepared to avoid obstacles without human intervention, thanks to the fact that it includes a vision system to detect objects and adapt its movements in different circumstances. For example, when it bumps into a pole, the robot runs over it to continue its work on the other side of the road.
To carry out this process, a standard fiber optic cable is not used, but a special design was thought that significantly reduces its weight. For example, 1 km of traditional fiber optic cable weighs about 113 kg, while the cable design used by the robot weighs about 13 kg.
According to Facebook, the robot has autonomy to install a little more than 1 km of cable in the electrical network in about 90 minutes. One detail to keep in mind is that this robot will not be developed by Facebook, since its objective is to license the technology.
In a first stage, launch a pilot test with a group of partners next year. If this solution is viable, it can be implemented to bring the Internet to remote areas, rural communities or populations with low resources.