Automotive companies such as Tesla and Faraday Future, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and autonomous vehicles 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, students will work in interdisciplinary teams toward two major international student competitions: the Formula Electric SAE Racecar Competition and the NASA Robotic Mining Competition. Students will have the opportunity to design and implement vehicles that compete in the international competitions to be held in New Hampshire and at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, respectively.
One interdisciplinary IPRO team will develop and implement the design of a Formula SAE electric racecar for entry in the international Formula Hybrid competition held in New Hampshire in May 2019. 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 Illinois Tech vehicle entry will be judged on design innovation, endurance and overall system engineering. Refer to http://www.formula-hybrid.org/.
One interdisciplinary IPRO team will develop and implement the design of a mining robot for entry in the international NASA Robotic Mining Competition held at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in May 2019. In this competition, students 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 the basis of completion of task, design innovation, size and weight. It must consider design and operating factors that include dust tolerance, communications, energy management, and autonomous operation. Refer to http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/centers/kennedy/technology/nasarmc.html.
Both teams are organized in workgroups 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 undertake a business case evaluation to create a value proposition and attract sponsors to support the Illinois Tech entries in the competitions.
In addition to the Idea shop in the new Kaplan Institute building, teams will have access to the research and development resources of the Electric Drives and 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 that provide necessary software, hardware, materials and services needed to create competitive entries.