Under every bridge, road, intersection, building, in fact pretty much any large manmade structure, you will find drainage tubing. They go by many names, culverts, drain pipe, conduit, etc. but what they all boil down to is various types of tubing. With the drain tubing especially, you need a way to know that water will go where you think it will go, when you think it will go there. And that requires inspections.
Most people are too tiny to fit in a 12" tube, and it’s not practical to dig up a 500’ long section of culvert every time you want to see if it has a leak, so people tend to send robots inside instead. This is the current least cost tube inspection robot out there:
It costs $10,000.
I think I can do better. Or at least cheaper.
My dad is a retired Civil engineer, so he can theoretically use such a robot to inspect a culvert, and then give a professionally valid opinion as to the state of the culvert. He can probably charge someone $150 to $300 an hour to do so in theory with a reasonable chance of a someone wanting to use those services 2-3 times per month during the summer months. I figure I can build a robot using ROV pressure hulls and controllers, 500’ of Cat 6 network cable, a spare laptop and some other hardware bits for under $1k not counting the laptop.
I ended up with an old robot chassis with 4 good motors in it, so I’m designing the unit around those motors. I want something that is a great photography platform, that will have a good stable footing in potentially slimey pipe, will not ever need to travel fast, and can travel over congregated surfaces. it doesn’t need to be able to turn much at all, it will mainly be going slowly forward or backwards.
This is what I have so far