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Need help to construct Small inspection vehicle

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jwatte:
I would look at buying as much as possible off the shelf.
I would start with a 1:8 or 1:5 scale remote control "monster truck" or "rock crawler" type car.
Then I would add a robotic gripper/arm.
Then I would add a wireless webcam, if that's not provided by the competition (it's unclear from the rules.)
I would use a multi-channel transmitter, rather than the two- or three-channel one that comes with a car by default.

Lift off the plastic chassis on the car, and drill some holes to mount the gripper/claw and camera.
Add some electronics to drive the gripper/claw with the extra channels. This could be driving the servos directly (somewhat hard to control) or using an Arduino, Axon, or other microcontroller that reads the remote control, translates to claw movements, and then controls the servos.

Example truck:
http://www.amainhobbies.com/product_info.php/cPath/1_44_1257_2612/products_id/140126/n/HPI-Wheely-King-4x4-RTR-w-Bounty-Hunter-Body

Example arm:
http://www.trossenrobotics.com/p/PhantomX-Pincher-Robot-Arm.aspx (note: uses serial communications, not servo-type PWM)

Example transmitter/receiver:
http://www.amainhobbies.com/product_info.php/cPath/61_433/products_id/23777/n/Futaba-7C-24GHz-FASST-Helicopter-Radio-System-w-R617FS-Receiver

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