Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
The Engineering Technology (ET) programs focus on the hands-on approach to engineering education. To keep pace with the rapid growth of industrial technology in the area of automation and artificial intelligence, the ET programs need to introduce students with cutting-edge hands-on interdisciplinary project experience. In this paper, we discuss the outcomes of such a pilot project on the exposure of ET students to state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle technology as an interdisciplinary senior design project. The project was introduced as a competition among teams consisting of both electrical engineering technology (EET) and mechanical engineering technology (MET) students. The objective of the project was to design a vehicle that can autonomously navigate a specified course at speed while completing an assigned mission challenge. The mission challenge was to shoot a small tennis ball two times towards a target while navigating through the course. The learning outcomes of the project was to: (1) evaluate students for their ability to think beyond the classroom education while solving an important societal problem, (2) gain experience in an interdisciplinary team of students with a diverse background, and (3) increase the synergy between the EET and MET programs for the future graduate degree program in Mechatronics and Robotics. The novelty of the project was the additional ‘speed’ component involved when compared to the traditional robotic projects along with the mission objective. This brought in the challenge of maintaining the stability of the vehicle while navigating at a higher speed. The project duration was for two semesters and facilitated by two instructors, one from each program. The course was of hybrid nature with some students enrolled online and participating off-campus. One of the most important factors involved in the project was the anonymity of the designs among the teams until the competition date. To keep the progress on track, the instructors adapted an innovative reporting process, which helped in peer evaluation. It is observed that the ET students are more inclined towards learning and adapting the latest open source technologies in their projects, such as open CV for image processing.
The full paper will focus on three important aspects of the project from the perspective of ET students. First, the approaches of ET students in handling cutting-edge technology as an open-ended problem. Second, approaches of the instructors to facilitate the two-semester project along with the lessons learned. Third, both the instructor and student experiences during the project. The paper will also include sample material for project specification and the milestones, feedback, and reporting procedure along with the challenges encountered by both the students and the instructor. The paper will also present the analysis of the student outcomes accessed by the instructors, student comments, and discussion on methods to increase student motivation, participation, and project evaluation. Finally, the paper will also include comments from students after graduation. This paper will serve as a teaching aid for the instructors currently teaching or plan to teach senior design in the near future. Most specifically, this will help the newly joined junior faculty members in planning the course and adapting grading and reporting procedures.
Sahoo, A., & Alexander, A., & Hahn, J. (2020, June), A Multi-major Senior Design Experience Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34017
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