Week 5 (Sept. 26, 2018): Presentation #1 (Goals & Specifications) Reflection

The first of three Senior Project Presentations were delivered today. Please refer to our presentation, embedded below.

The objective of our presentation was to discuss our team goals as well as our refined, conclusive design specifications. Our presentation can be divided into five sections: (1) the overarching aspirations of the SPARTAN Superway team; (2) past semesters’ accomplishments; (3) how we, the current Small-Scale Controls Team, will improve, expand upon, and fix last year’s designs; (4) team member responsibilities for the 2018-2019 year; and (5) a Gantt Chart planning out our Fall 2018 timeline.

Although we stated, in our Presentation #1, that Patrick would oversee the software side of the small-scale model and David would be in charge of the hardware, our duties will more than likely overlap with each other due to the interdependent nature of controls and mechatronics systems. In other words, a circuit and a controller are meaningless without the hardware, while the hardware, such as actuators, cannot be controlled without a programmed controller and driver. And, to reiterate, our duties will also overlap with Small-Scale Bogie and Small-Scale Track, with more interaction with the Bogie team due to the bogie-motor connection.  

At the conclusion of our presentation, we received some feedback from Dr. Furman. He appreciated how we animated some of our slides – having highlighted arrows and boxes fade in to concentrate on a specific aspect of the image as the speaker discussed as well as having the speaker point to the entering arrows and boxes to draw attention to them, instead of having a static image. Dr. Furman also brought to our attention brushless gimbal motors, as is used for the cameras found on commercial drones. This would be another consideration for the selection of the motor to be connected to the bogie. Brushless gimbals are wound for very low speed (i.e. lots of turns of thin wire).

As stated in our Presentation #1, it’s always important to keep in mind the overarching aspirations of the SPARTAN Superway initiative, which is to fulfill the objectives spelled out in its name: Solar Powered (to offer a solution to end dependability on non-renewable sources of energy, such as petroleum and natural gas, thus reducing carbon emissions), Autonomous (to provide a self-sufficient transportation system that does not require a large maintenance team), Rapid Transit (to provide direct-to-destination transportation), Ascendant (literally, the track will be suspended above the ground to reduce traffic congestion, and figuratively, it is an emerging mode of transportation) Network (the system will be a network of tracks, railways, and PV panels). Altogether, these accomplishing these objectives will allow SPARTAN Superway to pave the way (figuratively, not literally) for the future of transportation and ultimately, the future of society.

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