Week 2

During Lab 02a: External Sensors & System Analysis 1, there are a number of tasks that Team F hopes to complete. The first duty is to acquaint the team members with both the components of the external sensor hardware as well as the various techniques of troubleshooting involved with this project. It is imperative to complete the before mentioned task so that the team may become familiar with the equipment and the tools that will be used throughout the remainder of the laboratory setting. To complete these tasks, the team must construct the sample AEV design, install and test the reflectance sensors, and begin to carry out sensor function calls such as goToRelativePostition(m), goToAbsolutePosition(m), as well as previous commands learned in the week prior. Once these actions have been taken, the team will demonstrate the ability of their program to run to an instructional team member so that they may receive constructive feedback on their program thus far.

In the second part of the lab, Lab 02b: System Analysis 1: Propulsion Efficiency, the team members are to familiarize themselves with propulsion system efficiency and the various testing equipment used in regards to the wind tunnel. They will then ponder the connections between AEVs to objects found in the real world, only to further relate wind tunnel testing to the AEV. The importance of students carrying out these task lies with the determination of the propellor type and configuration. By doing so, the most energy efficient operation can be achieved in the team’s AEV design. By relating the lab concepts to the outside world, students will begin to grasp the importance of creating efficient vehicles for consumers around the globe. In order to complete the above tasks, team members will analyze results obtained from the wind tunnel testing, including percent power, current, thrust scale reading, and RPM. With this, the team will then be able to determine factors such as power input, power available, propulsion efficiency, and propeller advance ratio. Finally, the students will determine the most energy efficient setting, noting that a propulsion efficient AEV requires low amounts of power from the battery while providing maximum propulsion efficiency.

Week 1

During Lab 01: Arduino Programming Basics, Team F took on several tasks in order to become familiar with the tools used to produce a functioning AEV.  This lab introduced the corresponding hardware and software for the AEV, allowing the team to explore all aspects of the project. In relation to the hardware, steps were given to set up an apparatus to test the propellor functions. The AEV controller, propellers, motors, and Li-Po battery were assembled in preparation of the function code. The aforementioned software was developed through analysis of code descriptions which outlined desired motor functions. Once the developed code was compiled and loaded into the AEV, the team observed its execution and began to  troubleshoot the program depending on undesirable actions.

The execution of this lab saw progression through team delegation. Team F divided itself into two parts, allowing two members to develop the code and two members to assemble the propellor apparatus. This system not only allowed all of the members to become familiar with their delegated tools first-hand, but allowed for a more efficient lab process. Once achieved, the combination of software and hardware gave Team F a stable foundation to begin preparing the programmed actions and physical framework for the final AEV system. This lab, essentially, gave the team an opportunity to learn not only what the dynamic of successful lab sessions looks like, but also discover what aspects of the AEV system they enjoy and/or what aspects they are having trouble comprehending for future reference.


  1. Identified how each digital command translated in the physical motors.
  2. Learned how to fix any coding problems that arose in program execution.
  3. Discovered that time can be saved and consensus achieved through delegation methods.
  4. Became familiar with efficiently executing step by step processes.

Lab 4

Date: 10 – Feb – 2017

Time: 11:10 AM (Face-to-face)

Members Present: Olivia McNeil, Derek Gupta, Lauren Hole, Samantha Flora

Topics Discussed: Lab 4

Objective: The focus of Lab 4 is to have a successful test run of the AEV and collect the EEPROM data stored in the arduino. Once obtained, the group needs to use Matlab and Excel to upload the data and convert it to physical parameters that are understandable. The team must also use the Design Analysis Tool and conduct a performance analysis.

Tasks Completed:

  • Track Run (all members)
    • AEV ran smoothly on track and followed the code it was programmed with
    • Several attempts were taken to make sure the code worked consistently
  • Uploading data (all members)
    • EEProm data was extracted from arduino using Matlab and put into an excel sheet
    • Another Matlab program was used to put the data from the excel sheet into a Matlab workspace
  • Performance Analysis
    • The team decided to conduct the performance analysis and tasks using the Design Analysis Tool later in the week outside of lab

Upcoming Tasks:

  • Learn how to screen and score design concepts
  • Use the sample AEV design to practice screen and scoring
  • Develop a better code to suit the new AEV design created at the end of Lab 3


The team finished the lab tasks well before lab time expired. However, there was much more work to be done for the lab that could take place outside of lab. In future labs, the team should remain in lab to work on more tasks whether they can be completed outside of lab or not.

Week 5

Weekly Goals

  1. Develop an efficient way to make decisions in the design process
  2. Utilize the structured method of design concept screening and scoring
  3. Determine the most efficient straight track operation
  4. Come to conclusions based on the success (or lack thereof) of the sample AEV run to implement these qualities in the team’s own design

Week 5 Schedule

Task Teammate(s) Start Date Due Date Time Needed
Determine how to screen All 2/17/17 2/17/17 .25hrs
AEV Construction Olivia and Sam 2/17/17 2/17/17 .5hrs
Programming Derek 2/17/17 2/17/17 .25hrs
Data Keeping/Screening Lauren 2/17/17 2/17/17 .25hrs
Progress Report All 2/17/17 2/24/17 5hrs

Week 5

In Lab 05: Design Concepts: Screening and Scoring, Team F will begin to familiarize themselves with the techniques of the design decision making process as well as the structured method involved with these methods. Additionally, a sample code will be used to test the AEV on the track so that these methods may be utilized for a baseline reference. First, the team will build the AEV concept design that was decided upon during Lab 4. This AEV will need to be programmed to run on the straight track by using the coding guidelines provided in the lab manual. Then, criteria will be determined that the team believes will be beneficial in evaluating their design. These criteria, as well as the design concepts created in Lab 4,  will be evaluated in the concept screening process in order to define the criteria that will play a key role in the final success of the AEV. It is imperative that the team complete these tasks during the allotted time period so that they may further grow upon their ideas that will be implemented in the final AEV design, as well as develop successful ways of making decisions. This skill will be helpful in further lab settings should the team find themselves in a stressful situation in need of a decision. Another reason the team must complete these tasks is because it will be helpful to determine what the most successful AEV configuration will be so that they may attempt to recreate it as best as possible.

Week 4

Lab 04 was split up into two parts: collecting performance data from the AEV, and inputting the raw data into a MATLAB generated graph. For the first part of the lab, the team took on the task of getting the AEV to not only run on the track, but perform at different speeds and distances. While running, the Arduino collects data on the time, velocity, position, marks, and current of the trip around the track. The team then used a MATLAB data recording program to upload the information found and categorize it into a coherent data chart. The values found are based on units of measurement identifiable by the Arduino system, however, the team must use equations given in the lab manual to convert these values to ones easily applicable to the lab analysis and discussion.  

The second part of this lab consisted of developing these values into graphs through MATLAB to determine a visible trend in the data. The plot of the graphs communicated that the team’s coding strategy has proven effective and will be further implemented in future labs. These graphs and their analyses can be found in Appendix C (Figures 1-4). The team will need to complete a plethora of activities prior to the completion of the AEV, but is currently focused on the effectiveness of the code at hand.

The team was able to take away more understanding of code in terms of distance traveled and power used. Based on recorded data and visual observations, the team will also be able to further develop a final draft of the AEV design. In terms of data evaluation, the team is better equipped to find conclusions on how to alter the project based on numerical data and charts which provide a better idea of why and how we should change the code/structure. Additionally, it was realized that the data collection program may not be entirely  accurate, being that the code was designed to run the AEV on 40% power for the first two seconds but was reported that it dropped after approximately .25 second.

Week 2/3

External Sensor Inside Track Code

motorSpeed(4,25);                                   //Run all motors at 25% power

goFor(2);                                                    //Run last command for 2 sec

motorSpeed(4,20);                                  //Set all motors to 20% power

goToAbsolutePosition(324);                 //Continue until 13.5 feet from the starting point

reverse(4);                                                 //Reverse spin direction of all motors

motorSpeed(4,30);                                  //Set all motors to 30% power

goFor(1);                                                    //Run last command for 1 sec

brake(4);                                                    //Brake all motors

Week 3

During Lab 03: Creative Design Thinking, Team F was able to take time conceptualizing the physical aspects of the AEV. At the beginning of the lab, the team used the analysis of creativity and innovation in the lab manual to outline discussion and research regarding the aesthetics of our AEV. Broken up into time frames based on the manual, the first 10 minutes were spent doing independent brainstorming with concept sketches based on design considerations given. Each member researched aerodynamics and properties of materials that could be used in our model. During the next 20 minutes, the team came together with individual orthographic sketches and compared aspects of each drawing. The main focus of each drawing was aerodynamics. The general outline sketch consisted of a pointed edge at the front of the AEV to help avoid air drag, and the Arduino component was situated within the structure for each sketch. Another integral component that was decided upon was the positioning of propellers on both sides of the AEV, which will aid in making opposite directions of travel more efficient on the track. A few more foundational decisions were made about preliminary aspects of our formal AEV design, and ideas surrounding 3-D parts were considered. These sketches can be found in Appendices C and D. The main materials for each design consists of plastic building parts provided in the original AEV kit, and also footnotes the use of 3-D printer filament for extra parts needed from the design. These materials were chosen based on consideration of AEV weight and the ability for the team to easily obtain with little to no cost. In terms of weight consideration, it was unanimously decided that the weight of the AEV should be as minimal as possible in order to cut the amount of power used by the motors for movement. Weight distribution was also a factor in preliminary design in order to avoid the AEV from flying off of the track when traveling around the curves.

During the other half of the lab, the team continued testing the AEV and working off of manual instructions for Lab 02. In light of  recording all events that occurred during this lab period, it is important to document that wires of the AEV malfunctioned and began to release smoke upon connection to the LiPo battery. All operations were immediately cancelled, and a new wiring system was installed into the Arduino system. Subsequent to the malfunction, the team worked to finish all criterion listed in the manual for producing an Arduino code, and began physical testing on the track. Due to lack of time, the team was only able to test the AEV on the track once, a test that proved successful for motor performance and unsuccessful for AEV movement. It was concluded through observation that the motor power was not high enough to effectively move the system, and the team decided to alter the code for a higher power value in future track testing.

A main takeaway regarding the functionality of our AEV is the importance of following the Mission Concept Review in the lab manual. It outlines that the AEV should adhere to the concepts of  energy management, operational efficiency and operational consistency. Based on these three qualities that were further explained in the manual, the team was able to efficiently made concept models that can realistically be produced in the time limit given for the class. The team was also able to get a better understanding of how we brainstorm. Most of the work done thus far on the AEV has been outlined by specific instructions in the manual, however, being able to practice creativity and innovation regarding the project was a new concept for lab progression. In terms of takeaways from code programming, the team was now able to troubleshoot the code based on track performance. While only test was able to be performed, exploring how the program physically translates on the track was important for understanding how to avoid wasting time with mistakes in the code script.

Lab 3

Date: 3 – Feb – 2017

Time: 11:10 AM (Face-to-face)

Members Present: Olivia McNeil, Derek Gupta, Lauren Hole, Samantha Flora

Topics Discussed: Lab 3

Objective: The focus of Lab 3 is to engage in creative thinking by having each group member brainstorm on concepts for the AEV’s design. Each member needs to create orthographic concept sketches and share their ideas with the other members. Finally, the team should come to a consensus on a common design.

Tasks Completed:

  • Lab 2 Makeup Activity, Test Run Code (Derek)
    • AEV short circuited and emitted smoke during setup
    • May have been caused by incorrectly connecting battery and wires to the arduino, the team is unsure of the true cause
    • GTA restored AEV,  other inconveniences arose (finding USB cable, trouble connecting arduino to computer, trouble uploading code)  
    • Very little time left for testing AEV, after first test there was no time to adjust code
    • Power was not strong enough to make AEV move, propellers spun the wrong direction, creating thrust opposite of the desired direction
  • Concept Sketches (All members)
    • The team worked on orthographic concept sketches
    • It was decided that the team consensus on the design would be made later in the week

Upcoming Tasks:

  • Familiarize the group with the automatic control system
  • Learn to interpret EEPROM data into physical parameters
  • Use MATLAB to create graphs of energy and power usage
  • Become familiar with the Design Analysis Tool to upload wind tunnel and arduino data
  • Conduct performance analysis


  • The AEV accident and other inconveniences caused a setback for this lab, these interruptions need to be avoided in future labs

Lab 2

Date: 27 – Jan – 2017

Time: 11:10 AM (Face-to-face)

Members Present: Derek Gupta, Lauren Hole, Samantha Flora

Topics Discussed: Lab 2, Part 1 and 2

Objective: The focus of Part 1 of Lab 2 is to familiarize the group with the AEV’s external sensors. This includes installing, calibrating, and testing the reflectance sensors. The group also needs to learn how to use external sensor function calls and how troubleshoot any problems with the setup. The focus of Part 2 of Lab 2 is to use wind-tunnel testing to learn about propulsion efficiency.

Tasks Completed:

  • Part 1 Installing and Testing External Reflectance Sensors (Lauren and Derek)
    • Wheels were attached to the AEV’s black arm and the sensors were put in place and secured with zip-ties
    • The serial monitor was used to test whether to sensor connections were in the correct ports; they were correct on the first try
  • Part 1 Writing the Test Code for Track (Lauren and Derek)
    • The code was written, though no time was left for AEV track testing, this will be completed in the next lab if possible
  • Part 2 Wind Tunnel Testing (Samantha)
    • Even with only one member working on wind tunnel testing, all data was collected in time before the lab ended
    • An excel sheet with formulas was to calculate the power thrust, efficiency, etc.

Upcoming Tasks:

  • Possibly run the test code on the ceiling track
  • Engage in group-collaborative creative thinking
  • Brainstorm on AEV concept designs
  • Create orthographic drawings of AEV designs


  • The group was missing one member due to sickness; this slightly inhibited the group’s progression rate through the lab
  • The team should become more time efficient at coding