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SE CAPSTONE: Introducing Multidisciplinary Design to USCGA

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

SE Capstone Design Projects, Part I

Tagged Divisions

Systems Engineering and Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1280.1 - 22.1280.8



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Paper Authors


Richard W. Freeman U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Richard W. Freeman has served as a lecturer in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Electrical Engineering Section since 2008. Prior to joining the faculty, he taught full-time for eight years. He also worked in the Telecommunications Industry for eight years. He earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University and a M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University. He is pursuing his Professional Engineering License.Contact: Richard Freeman, Ph.D., U.S. Coast Guard Academy (dee), 15 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320, (860) 444-8536,

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Richard J. Hartnett P.E. U.S. Coast Guard Academy

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Richard J. Hartnett is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. He received his B.S.E.E. degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the M.S.E.E. degree from Purdue University, and his Ph.D. in EE from the University of Rhode Island. His research interests include efficient digital filtering methods, improved receiver signal processing techniques for electronic navigation systems, and autonomous vehicle design.

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SE CAPSTONE- Introducing Multidisciplinary Capstone Design to the United States Coast Guard AcademyThe United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) is one of five Service Academies educatingand training generations of Military Officers. USCGA offers eight majors including fourengineering majors- Civil, Electrical and Computer, Mechanical and Naval Architectural andMarine Engineering. Each major has traditionally taught its own capstone design course, whichranged from a one-semester paper project to a two-semester project with a functional prototype.Multidisciplinary projects have been rare and collaboration on projects has usually been limitedto having cadets from other majors working as part of design teams, but usually being enrolled ina separate independent study (directed study).This paper will highlight changes brought to USCGA through the Department of Defense (DOD)Systems Engineering Grant. As part of the DOD Systems Engineering Grant, Civil, Mechanicaland Electrical and Computer Engineering are collaborating on a project. The goal of this projectis to design and build a bolt-on hybridization system for existing fleets of medium sized trucks.The system would capture & store energy during coasting and braking, and then turn that storedenergy back into kinetic energy during acceleration. Increased fuel mileage would result infewer refueling stops thus fewer refueling-related casualties, reduced reliance on foreign oil andreduced engine and brake maintenance. Other possible benefits include turning a 2-wheel drivevehicle into all wheel drive and silent (no engine) drivability. The current project plan is todesign and build a full-scale prototype system. Major system components include energycapture, energy storage and energy delivery as well as braking and acceleration control systemsand a rudimentary anti-lock brake system.Cadets from Civil and Mechanical Engineering are collaborating as a capstone team with twoElectrical Engineering cadets who are collaborating with them via a directed study. The amountof collaboration required for this grant is a major departure from past years. In this pilot, thereare three Faculty Advisors, representing the three majors and a senior faculty membersupervising the entire project. Issues that are being addressed include: differences in textbooks,grading schemes, course policies, assignments and schedules. The paper will discuss the rapidrate of change driven by the DOD grant and how these obstacles were overcome.

Freeman, R. W., & Hartnett, R. J. (2011, June), SE CAPSTONE: Introducing Multidisciplinary Design to USCGA Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18940

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