Engineering seniors, operating in design teams, apply principles of the design process to create a product or process to meet the needs of a customer. Projects may originate in industry, as a contest sponsored by a professional society, or in other venues. The design team, with the guidance of a faculty advisor, must plan, direct, conduct, and effectively communicate the results of the design effort through a professional engineering report and oral presentation. The design project will include material within and beyond the curriculum as well as technical and non-technical considerations. Design projects often result in a deliverable prototype.
Since 1993, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has held the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC). The nature of the IGVC is a collaboration between mechanical and electrical engineers to design and build a vehicle that can navigate itself through a range of obstacles. The IGVC will require mechanical, electrical, and computer engineers to work together in order to design a vehicle that can essentially think for itself. Using their knowledge of control theory, robotics, and vehicle dynamics, the students must integrate an entire system consisting of sensors, range finders, microcontrollers, and drive systems to create a durable, reliable vehicle.
In June 2013 students working on the IGVC project will take their vehicle to Michigan to compete against approximately 40 other vehicles from colleges and universities throughout the world.