497-242: Electrified Transportation for Land & Space: From Formula Race Cars to Space Exploration Robots

Meeting Days/Time
Tuesdays from 6:25 to 9:05 pm
Wanger Institute for Sustainability & Energy Research (WISER) at Illinois Tech
Mahesh Krishnamurthy (ECE) (kmahesh@ece.iit.edu)
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome
Technological Innovation

Automotive companies such as Tesla and Faraday Future, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and autonomous vehicles are some of the areas that have made giant strides in recent years. Electrification has allowed fast and powerful operation in addition to substantial benefits in efficiency. However, this area is still in the development stage and has been very receptive to advanced design and innovation. This has created a major demand for engineers with practical, hands-on experience in system design and hardware development, leadership and teamwork.

In this IPRO project, interdisciplinary teams will work toward two international student competitions: the Formula electric SAE racecar competition and the NASA Robotic Mining Competition. Team members will have an opportunity to design and implement the two vehicles in collaboration with Illinois Tech student organizations in order to participate in the international competitions to be held in New Hampshire and at Kennedy Space Center (Florida), respectively.

The Formula Racecar Team will work on the design and implementation of a Formula SAE electric racecar with the aim of participating in the international Formula Hybrid competition held in New Hampshire in May 2017. From an industry standpoint, petroleum prices continue to rise every year and consumers are hard-pressed to find alternatives to their gasoline-hungry vehicles. Through this project, students will explore and develop the same cutting-edge automotive technology that will be making its way into many markets in the next few years. The vehicle will be judged on design innovation, endurance and overall system engineering. For additional information, refer to http://www.formula-hybrid.org/.

The Robotic Mining Team will focus on the international NASA Robotic Mining Competition held at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in May 2017. In this competition, the team will design and build a mining robot that can traverse a simulated Martian terrain. The robot must excavate Martian soil, the basaltic regolith simulant, and move the excavated mass into the collector bin to simulate an off-world resource-mining mission. The robot will be judged on completion of task, design innovation, size and weight. The solution must consider design and operation factors that include dust tolerance, communications, energy management and autonomous operation.
Refer to http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/centers/kennedy/technology/nasarmc.html.

Each of the two teams will be organized as several sub-groups that include: vehicle/robot design, component placement & aesthetics; aerodynamics; suspension; low voltage electronics and powertrain (including energy storage and electric motor). The teams will also include a business team that will work on creating a value proposition for sponsors to create financial support for the Illinois Tech entries in the competition.

In addition to the Idea shop, the team will have access to the research capabilities of the Electric Drives & Energy Conversion (http://drives.ece.iit.edu) lab in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and the SAE Garage (http://drives.ece.iit.edu/fsae-facility.html). The teams will also develop relationships with technical sponsors and commercial partners, which will provide additional resources that include software, hardware, materials and services.

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