June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.153.1 - 24.153.11
An Autonomous Arduino-based Racecar for First-Year Engineering Technology StudentsThis paper describes an autonomous Arduino-based racecar project for use in a first-yearengineering technology course. The project is intended to stimulate students’ interest indeveloping key skills such as computer programming and industrial design andfabrication as well as providing a hands-on introduction to several key topics in electrical,mechanical, and industrial engineering technology.The racecar comprises an Arduino Uno, an Adafruit Motor/Stepper/Servo Shield, threeUltrasonic Ranging Modules, assorted motors and gears, and a chassis that is customdesigned by the students and fabricated on a 3-D printer. The ultrasonic ranging moduleis used by the microcontroller to navigate a simple obstacle course and the groupscompete for best time.The project begins with an introduction to basic concepts in mechanical design andfabrication. The students learn to use SolidWorks mechanical design software to generatedigital models of the frame the racecar chassis that will house the electro-mechanicalcomponents. They are then given practice exercises in fabricating simple shapes using aFused Deposition Modeler that is available in the Engineering Technology MechanicalLaboratory. Next, the students are introduced to basic concepts in computer organizationand programming. They learn to write short programs in C that can be downloaded to theArduino platform to perform simple tasks such as flashing LEDs or controlling motors.Then the class is divided into teams of three or four students. One or more students ineach group are tasked with the design and fabrication of the racecar chassis and theremainder are assigned the development of the control software.For the chassis design the students must the tradeoff between light weight and the abilityto withstand static/dynamic loading due to moving parts. The students who areresponsible for software design are given the code to poll the range sensors but they mustdevelop or search the web for any additional code needed to navigate the racecar throughthe course. The project lasts four weeks, and the total cost for purchased parts is about$60 per racecar.The significance of the methodology used in this project is to combine theory andpractice to prepare the students to become better problem solvers and obtain practicalsolutions to real life/simulated problems using a project-based approach. The project alsointroduces students to the advantages rapid prototyping, in particular, the fact that objectscan be formed with any geometric complexity or intricacy, reducing the construction ofcomplex objects to a manageable, straightforward, and relatively fast process. Studentsare able to build parts that need to be assembled into more complex shapes, and thereforethey experience concepts such as design for manufacturing and assembly.Expected outcomes include the ability of the students to explain basic computerorganization, to write simple codes in C, and to design, analyze, and fabricate usefulmechanical components. Multiple forms of assessment are used to demonstrate success,including student surveys, course exams, and homework.
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015