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Preparing Aerospace Engineering Students for Career in UAV Technologies

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

UAV and other Team Projects in Aerospace Engineering

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Subodh Bhandari Cal Poly Pomona

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Dr. Bhandari is a professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. He received his PhD from University of Kansas in 2007. His expertise is in the area of Aircraft Dynamics and Control and Unmanned Systems. He has been actively involved in training a future generation of engineers in the area of unmanned vehicles system. His current research emphasis is on increased autonomy of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), UAV-unmanned ground vehicle collaboration, robust and intelligent control, collision and obstacle avoidance system for UASs, and developing capabilities for widespread use of unmanned vehicles. Dr. Bhandari leads a multi-disciplinary team of faculty and students from several departments within the Colleges of Engineering and Science at Cal Poly Pomona for research on unmanned systems. He has obtained federal and industry support for his research on unmanned systems, and has published several papers on his research. He is a senior member of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a member of American Helicopter Society (AHS), Association for Unmanned Vehicles International (AUVSI), and American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have potential of reducing human casualty and cost for many dull, dirty, and dangerous missions. UAVs are one of the fastest growing sectors of Aerospace Industry. However, there is a lack of professionals entering the workforce. There is also a lack of students pursuing studies for graduate degrees in the UAV related areas. This paper talks about innovative projects and teaching practices designed to increase students’ interest and involvement in UAV related projects. Many aspects of UAV technologies are not or cannot usually be taught in classroom settings. Students and/or research projects are effective way of exposing students to the state-of-the-art in UAV technologies. These projects provide students opportunity to learn new skills and apply their knowledge to the real-world problems in an environment that includes students from multiple departments. The students get ample opportunity to develop theoretical understanding, by means of hands-on learning, and apply the knowledge to designing, building, performing system integration, modeling, simulation, and flight testing of UAVs. The students also get opportunities for data collection and data analysis.

An assessment of the learning outcomes showed that these projects were helpful in well preparing the students for careers in UAV technologies. These projects have also been found effective in encouraging students to pursue their studies for graduate degrees in the area of UAV technologies. The involvement in these projects motivate students to effectively engage in learning and develop new understanding, knowledge, and skills. The paper also describes the strategies to recruit and train lower level students for the continued involvement of students in these projects.

Bhandari, S. (2016, June), Preparing Aerospace Engineering Students for Career in UAV Technologies Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27335

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