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Need Help To Design Roofing Robot

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I suffer from an illness that may cost me my job if I don't find a solution soon, and I'm hoping technology may be the answer. I have to get up on roofs to examine damages. I am interested in purchasing or designing a robot to help me with the roof work while I stay at ground level controlling it and viewing the damages from the robot's perspective. If anybody has any information that could help me out it would be greatly appreciated, and maybe a test for a new product. I'll give a list of things to consider if something like this does not yet exist, as I have not run across one in my career.

1. It must be a mobile remote control device that is able to initiate small tasks while moving on sloped or flat surfaces and negotiate valleys.
2. The main tool to consider is a quality camera (around 10 megapixels at least) that can preferably be seen from the ground on a laptop. Other tools optional are a pitch gauge, and shingle gauge, and an arm that can use sidewalk chalk to circle damages.
3. It must be able to stay on high slopes without trouble, so the wheel type is important. Ability to handle at least a 10 pitch roof is preferable.
4. Flight is optional, or a mix of flight and ground mobility.
5. Reasonable pricing is preferable.
6. Any way to view what the robot is doing from the ground is preferable.
7. It needs to take measurements of the roof
8. It should withstand hot summer heat and icy cold winters.

If you know of any way to help, please let me know.


I think this is a good idea. I could see this being accomplished with a simple low profile track driven bot, wired or wireless, with a simple 'probe' arm and a servo mounted camera setup. Pitch can be handled with a gyro. The only issue I could see is getting over the peak or dip of a roof. You might have 4 sets of tracks instead of just two and allow those tracks to angle themselves to stay in contact with the surface. I'm not entirely sure I understand 10 pitch, but assuming my googling was fruitful a 10 pitch roof sits at a 40 degree incline. I believe a low profile tracked bot could handle pitches higher than this provided the surface was solid and intact.

One other element for concern might be bot weight. How do you envision getting this bot to the roof? Is flight necessary? Flying tends to complicate things drastically when there are obstacles  present such as trees or chimneys.

From the looks of your post, you want somebody to build this for you, is that correct?

I'm seeing a Quad-copter like vehicle that can hover at any point over the roof with an on-board wireless camera.


--- Quote from: waltr on June 22, 2011, 06:53:28 AM ---I'm seeing a Quad-copter like vehicle that can hover at any point over the roof with an on-board wireless camera.

--- End quote ---

I had originally thought the same thing, but I am in the process of buying a home and just did a roof inspection with my home inspector. One thing mentioned in dustynesmith's post was chalking the roof. I don't know what kind of quadcopter would have the stability to chalk a roof around a problem. The other issue is that under some circumstances my inspector used a 'probe' (glorified putty knife with an extended handle) to lift and check under some of the shingles.

Now if the quadcopter could be made to land on the odd pitches do its marking/lifting and then take off again I think you'd have a success. The only other issue, most video/images I've seen have the blur from the vibration of the brushless motors/props. While a SUPER fast snapping camera and image processing could also counter act this, I'd say it would start to cost a bit more than this gentleman might be interested in. The only other issue I can see is weight vs flight time. Add a camera, chalk, a probe and all of the electronics, batteries, motors, and servos to control it you end up with something that actually has to be substantial in size.

If a quadcopter is the way to go though, hobbyking has a quadcopter frame for about $15 that already comes with a servo operated/stabilized camera mount if you provide the servos and gyros for the stabilization.


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