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The motivation for this project was to minimize the injury and fatality rate of loggers across the world due to inclement weather, structurally unsound tress, and bulky equipment used to trim trees by designing a robot with the ability to climb trees and trim branches. Due to budget and time constraints, the scope of the project was limited to autonomously climbing and descending a tree trunk while avoiding branches; however, the possibility of future modifications was considered in the design. Design criteria included maneuverability, reversibility, simplicity, vertical speed, the ability to climb a tree of fixed diameter, and the ability to carry extra weight. The final design was a “caterpillar”-style robot, and the major modular subsystems of the design included clamping, extension, rotation, and branch detection. The final design, construction, and testing of each of these subsystems is discussed, as well as the testing of the system as a whole. Ultimately, the design was deemed a success, with the exception of the failure of the rotation system.
Arnold, Stephen; Lewis, Robert; Meador, Matthew; Richter, Amanda; and Saunders, Matthew, "Final Report: Tree Climbing Robot" (2008). Engineering Senior Design Reports. 17.