Automotive companies such as Tesla and Faraday Future, and technologies associated with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and autonomous vehicles are developments 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 open to advanced design and innovation. This has created a major demand for engineers with practical, hands-on experience in systems design and hardware development, leadership and teamwork.
In this IPRO project, students will work in interdisciplinary teams toward two international student competitions: the Formula electric SAE racecar competition and the NASA Robotic Mining Competition. Students will have the opportunity to design and implement the two vehicles and compete in the international competition to be held in New Hampshire and at Kennedy Space Center (Florida), respectively.
IITeam One will work on the design and implementation of a Formula SAE electric racecar for entry in the international Formula Hybrid competition held in New Hampshire in May 2018. From an industry standpoint, the inevitable long term trend is for rising petroleum prices and consumers are hard-pressed to find alternatives to their gasoline-hungry vehicles. Through this project, IITeam One 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. See Formula SAE Racecar: http://www.formula-hybrid.org/
IITeam Two will work on the international NASA Robotic Mining Competition to be held at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in May 2018. In this competition, IITeam Two will design and build a mining robot that can traverse a simulated Martian terrain. The robot must excavate Martian soil, basaltic regolith simulant, and move the excavated mass into the collector bin to simulate an off-world resource-mining mission. The robot entries will be judged on completion of task, design innovation, size and weight. The design must address a range of operational factors that include dust tolerance, communications, energy management and autonomous operation. See NASA RMC: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/centers/kennedy/technology/nasarmc.html.
Both teams will be organized in sub-groups that focus on 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 for their entries in the competitions.
In addition to the Idea shop, the team will have access to the research capabilities of the Electric Drives and Energy Conversion (http://drives.ece.iit.edu) lab in the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department as well as the SAE garage (http://drives.ece.iit.edu/fsae-facility.html). The teams will also develop relationships with technical sponsors and commercial partners to support various needs of the projects, including access to necessary software, hardware, material and services.