June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Electrical and Computer
11.75.1 - 11.75.10
A Multi-Disciplinary Senior Design Project Using Cooperative Unmanned Aerial Vehicles 1. Abstract
To improve our response to U.S. Air Force requirements, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy has integrated multidisciplinary team projects into its two-semester capstone design course. In this paper we present a case study of one of our multidisciplinary projects for the 2005-2006 academic year; developing a system of cooperative unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Some of our instructional methods include just- in-time teaching, team faculty mentoring, and requiring timely scheduled oral and written reports, to name a few. The goal of the project is to have three UAVs cooperatively seek, detect, and monitor a ground target. The students come from the academic disciplines of electrical engineering, computer engineering, and systems engineering management. To be successful, the team must use a system engineering approach to (1) manage the project development process, (2) implement onboard controllers and an automatic tracking ground station and (3) test and evaluate the final product, all while adhering to a team-developed schedule. The final product must meet requirements of sensor remote control, sensor data downlink, communication, embedded computing, and minimum flight duration. We show that our techniques improved the overall quality of the students’ learning experience.
In response to evolving U.S. Air Force requirements, the five departments that make up the Engineering Division at the U.S. Air Force Academy have shifted their emphasis from individual projects to multidisciplinary team projects for their senior-level, two-semester capstone design courses. Design teams consist of students from a variety of engineering disciplines and, in some instances, a student majoring in systems engineering management. The roles of the different students on each project team reflect their disciplines. This approach has been providing our students with real world engineering experiences. These experiences include, in addition to the traditional engineering design activities, learning to work with other students from outside their own discipline, establishing and adhering to an integrated team project timeline, identifying and managing risks, generating periodic progress reports and briefings, and creating and executing a test plan.
During the 2005-2006 academic year, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has been overseeing eight capstone design projects. The projects involve 30 students majoring in electrical engineering, computer engineering, systems engineering, general engineering, and systems engineering management. Table 1 shows a listing of this year’s projects and the make up of the student teams. A faculty mentor is assigned to each team to guide and direct the student team throughout the academic year. A volunteer senior faculty member serves as the team’s “customer” and provides feedback at all formal reviews and status briefings. In addition to these two faculty members, the faculty course administrator participates in and assesses all formal reviews and reports. The faculty team mentors the students on both the technical and program management aspects of the project.
Wicker, J., & Royer, E., & Arb, A., & Pack, D. (2006, June), A Multi Disciplinary Senior Design Project Using Cooperative Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Uavs) Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1219
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