Named after the silk-spinning Bombyx silkworm, the robot is designed to climb along electricity distribution lines, wrapping a new lightweight fiber-optic cable to bring fiber internet connectivity to more of the world at a fraction of the cost.
Bombyx is designed to be fully autonomous, moving along power lines and climbing around obstacles to lay kilometers of fiber-optic cable without the need for human intervention.
It’s a truly remarkable piece of engineering, which incorporates many advances in materials, autonomous robotics and artificial intelligence – and, of course, our vision-based spatial intelligence software.
Where we come in
Our vision-based spatial intelligence software provides real-time location, mapping and object identification for the Bombyx robot. Using data from stereo cameras and an inertial unit, our software helps Bombyx locate itself on the powerline, and identify and map obstacles ahead so it can navigate around them.
The system combines innovations in robotics and fiber-optic cable design to dramatically lower the cost of deploying fiber. While there have been tremendous improvements in the strength and size of a fiber strand, as well as the amount of data a strand can carry, there has not yet been a widely applicable solution for reducing the cost of fiber construction (the main cost of deploying fiber).