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Freshman Project: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (Auv)

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

FPD4 -- Hands-on & Real-World Studies

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.766.1 - 12.766.14



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Paper Authors


David Ye Polytechnic University

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David Ye is a senior head teaching assistant in General Engineering. He expects to receive his BSEE from Polytechnic University in June 2007. His interests include robotics. He interned at Symbol Technologies researching wireless protocols and Power LEDs.

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Ilya Brutman Polytechnic University

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Ilya Brutman is a teaching assistant in General Engineering. He expects to receive his BSCompE from Polytechnic University in June 2008.

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Gunter Georgi Polytechnic University

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Gunter W. Georgi is an Industry Professor at Polytechnic University. He received his BS from Cooper Union and his MS and professional M. E. Degrees from Columbia University. He is a registered Professional Engineer. He has worked for many years in the aerospace industry in design, analysis and management functions, including Thermal Mission Analysis of the Lunar Module from Apollo Project.

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Lorcan Folan Polytechnic University

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Lorcan M. Folan is Head of the Department of Physics at Polytechnic University. He holds a B. Sc in Applied Science from Trinity College, Dublin and M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Physics from Polytechnic University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Freshman Project: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) David Ye, Ilya Brutman, Gunter W. Georgi , and Lorcan M. Folan

Polytechnic University


Like many other schools, our school has developed robotics projects using commercial products such as Lego Mindstorms for its Freshman Engineering course. These projects have been well- received by many students1. However, some Freshman students have commented that they wanted something different and more challenging than land-based robotics.

To meet this demand, we have developed an underwater test field that requires an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to perform various tasks. These tasks necessitate the design and construction of AUVs that operate on the surface of water, on the bottom surface under water, as well as when running submerged in between. The construction cost for material for the underwater test field was kept below $1000.

Many students are familiar with LEGO robotics on dry land. AUVs present many new challenges: waterproofing conventional LEGO components, buoyancy, balance, and 3-D motion. Since completion of various tasks contributes different point values, the final total point value is a measure of how well the AUV has performed. This is the basis for a lively design competition between Freshman Engineering teams.

1 Introduction

Polytechnic University’s Introduction to Engineering and Design course consists of lectures (1 hr/wk), laboratory work (3 hrs/wk), and recitations (2 hrs/wk) for an academic semester. Engineering activities and design examples from a variety of engineering disciplines are presented and a selection of professional tools (MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS Project, AutoCAD, LabView) are introduced. Students are exposed to team building activities and must make presentations (both written and oral), as an individual and as a member of a team. Some laboratory work involves design competitions and the students must select one of several semester-long design projects that require teamwork and develop project management skills.

For the Fall of 2006 for the first time ten student teams of 3 students each designed AUVs. All teams completed successfully. Of the ten designs, 7 were bottom travelers, 1 was a surface vessel, and 2 were floaters. All teams were very enthusiastic and put in many hours to solve engineering problems and unexpected challenges posed by buoyancy, water resistance, and orientation/location problems.

The first priority was to provide a working environment for the AUVs; a complete assessment of the project still has to be done. Below are two examples of AUVs built by the students during the Fall 2006 semester.

Ye, D., & Brutman, I., & Georgi, G., & Folan, L. (2007, June), Freshman Project: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (Auv) Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1844

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