An acoustic sensor listens for electrical sparks inside the cable bundle, a sure sign of failing insulation.
Hotspots indicate that the conductors or insulators are decaying. An infrared thermal sensor sends real-time temperature data back to the command computer.
Electric motors drive
hourglass-shaped wheels that straddle the cable crest to help the 'bot keep its balance, and stabilizer arms prevent it from rolling over.
The 'bot beams the view from a front-mounted video camera to the command computer, where human eyes can look out for obstructions and sharp turns that could overwhelm its programming.