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A Tale of Three UAVs - or Design Lessons in Education for Projects Demanding Cross-Disciplinary Integration

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Capstone Design Courses II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Charles Pezeshki Washington State University

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Charles (Chuck) Pezeshki is the Director of the Industrial Design Clinic in the School of MME at Washington State University. The Industrial Design Clinic is the primary capstone vehicle for the School and focuses on industrially sponsored projects with hard deliverables that students must complete for graduation. His research area is in knowledge construction as a function of social/relational organization.

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Jacob William Leachman Washington State University

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Jacob Leachman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University (WSU). He initiated the HYdrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) laboratory at WSU in 2010 with the mission to advance the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of hydrogen systems. He received a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho in 2005 and a M.S. degree in 2007. His master’s thesis has been adopted as the foundation for hydrogen fueling standards and custody exchange, in addition to winning the Western Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Award for 2008. He completed his Ph.D. in the Cryogenic Engineering Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 on the visco-plastic flow of hydrogenic materials for the fueling of fusion energy machines. He has conducted guest research in the Physical and Chemical Properties of Fluids Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Pellet Fueling of Fusion Plasmas Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

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Michael Richey The Boeing Company

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Dr. Michael Richey is a Boeing Associate Technical Fellow currently assigned to support technology and innovation research at The Boeing Company. Michael is responsible for leading a team conducting engineering education research projects that focus on improving the learning experience for students, incumbent engineers and technicians. His research encompasses, Sociotechnical Systems, Learning Curves, and Engineering Education Research.
Additional responsibilities include providing business leadership for engineering technical and professional educational programs. This includes development of engineering programs (Certificates and Masters) in advanced aircraft construction, composites structures, systems engineering, product lifecycle management and digital manufacturing. The educational programs and research focus on practical understanding of human learning and the design of technology-enhanced learning environments and promoting global excellence in engineering and learning technology to develop future generations of entrepreneurially-minded engineers. This is achieved by partnering and investing in educational initiatives and programs between industry and institutions of higher learning. Under Michael’s leadership, The Boeing Company has won the multiple Awards for Excellence and Innovation for their industry academic partnerships and joint programs
Michael has served on various advisory groups including, the editorial board of the Journal of Engineering Education, Boeing Higher Education Integration Board, American Society for Engineering Education Project Board and the National Science Foundation I-UCRC Industry University Collaborative Research Center Advisory Board. Michael has authored or co-authored over 25 publications in leading journals including Science Magazine, The Journal of Engineering Education and INCOSE addressing topics in large scale system integration, learning sciences and systems engineering. Michael often represents Boeing internationally and domestically as a speaker - presenter and has authored multiple patents on Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing, with multiple disclosures focused on system engineering and elegant design.Michael holds a B.A and M.Sc. from ESC Lille in Program Project Management and Ph.D. from SKEMA Business School with a focus on Engineering Education Research.

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A Tale of Three UASs – or Design Lessons in Education for the Internet of Things

In the past four years, there has been an acceleration of interest in Unmanned Aerial Systems and their design. Nowhere can this be seen more profoundly than student demand in the traditional mechanical/aerospace curricula. Students want to build these devices, as part of capstone projects, or club competitions, and are powerfully motivated by the ‘cool’ factor, as well as fulfilling student desires to prepare themselves for careers in both the robust aerospace and space fields.

But these systems are not simple to design. To start, they not only require nominal multidisciplinary teams. They also require a level of interfacing and transdisciplinarity that not only are not formally taught in the academy. That level of collaboration, because of siloed fields, and the fundamental social structure of the university, does not exist in any quantifiable size.

This paper will examine three case studies of three different UAS projects. One, successfully completed, is a hydrogen fuel demonstrator. The other two are year-long capstone projects in progress, one associated with a Boeing-led initiative and competition, and one for a non-profit customer for long-range tracking of African Painted Dogs. The intricacies of integration are discussed, as well as the trends in design for what these devices really are – an outgrowth of the Internet of Things, which will also require modified social/relational and design structures, and an appreciation of how these affect both student and system performance to field systems that actually work.

Pezeshki, C., & Leachman, J. W., & Richey, M. (2016, June), A Tale of Three UAVs - or Design Lessons in Education for Projects Demanding Cross-Disciplinary Integration Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26462

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