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 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.
(Front row, L to R)
(Back row, L to R)
On June 6, 2014, the ECE and ME engineering programs sent two robots to the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
One robot, codenamed White Russian, was a completely new design that utilized a different software architecture and mechanical structure. Out of the almost 40 teams that came to IGVC, only 17 robots qualified. Our White Russian robot qualified and competed in the basic auto-navigation challenge.
The second robot, codenamed The Dude, was an iteration on the 2013 design; however, most of the robot was rebuilt as students worked through the 2014 competition rules. The Dude did not qualify for competition, but many of the support systems, such as drive train and power, were validated through extensive testing in the field.
Both robots scored well in their design competitions, which is a testament to the hard work that the students put into their projects.