Walking a roof will always be the best option and give you the most information, that’s for sure.
Using a UAV, pole-mounted camera, or even binoculars, each are also very viable options for viewing a roof that is too steep or dangerous to walk on.
Using a RC car may seem like a toy, or useless gadget to some here, but it truly just gives another option that may (or may not) be the best for some situations. Do you carry just one single p3 screwdriver in your bag? I certainly hope not! As home inspectors, we run into loads of different scenarios that require different methods or tools and the most successful of inspectors are the ones who adapt quickly and come prepared for any situation that may be thrown at them.
That being said…
Here is a video that I made of my CIR navigating a snow-covered roof top. Please keep in mind that this is a testing video just to show that it’s possible to do. There really isn’t anything on this roof that can be seen or inspected thoroughly while covered in snow, so it’s just driving it around on a snow-covered roof.
CIR - CIR Testing Snowy Rooftop 1 | Facebook
There may be instances where you can’t or shouldn’t walk it, or can’t get a good view of a centered chimney from a camera pole, or tightly grown trees prevent the safe usage of a UAV, so having the right tool for the job gives you the best possibility of gathering as much info as you can.
Will it work, or even be needed for every roof in every situation. No. I’d be very impressed if you could show me the one tool that can.
Any good boy scout will tell you… Be Prepared!