iv. Performance Tests

Performance Test 1

For the first performance test, the goal of the test was to get the AEV to start up, make its way up the first incline, come to a stop between the sensor, wait the full seven seconds, and proceed through the gate. The design used on the first performance test was concept 4 from the design evolution page. Unfortunately, the AEV was facing error with inconsistencies in the coasting distance after the breaks cut, as well as inconsistencies due to running for a set time instead of a set distance. Looking forward, the group had to come up with a solution in order to create a more accurate breaking system, as well as switch to a system using the sensors to measure distance. The final score for the first performance test was a 16 out of 20.

Performance Test 2 

For the second performance test, the goal of the test was to get the AEV to go through the gate by coming to a stop between the two senors, attach to the caboose at the far end of the track, wait for a full five seconds and then move out of the loading zone. For this performance test, the design used was concept 5 from the design evolution page. Due to the variances in distance covered using a time based method of tracking distance, the team switched to using the reflectance sensors which track the distance covered throughout the run. Due to the intricacies and minor inconsistencies of this technique, the team was not able to develop a more consistent braking method besides coasting.  This lack of a brake led to inconsistencies in stopping distance, resulting in the AEV once again not passing through the sensors.  The final score for the second performance test was a 13.5 out of 20.

Performance Test 3

The third and final performance test required the AEV to go through the gates, safely attach to the caboose, come back along the tack, stopping at the gates again, and then safely brake and bring the caboose into the starting zone. For this performance test, concept 5 from from the design evolution page was once again used.  Power braking, a method of stopping the AEV in which the propellers are reversed at a high speed for a short amount of time, was used for this test, eliminating some inconsistencies due to coasting differences. However, due to time constraints the team was unable to successfully implement this tactic for the return trip of the AEV, and instead had to rely on coasting.

For the best run, in which the team scored a 32, 499.68 Joules was used in 69.543 seconds. The second best run was slightly more energy efficient, using 368.187 Joules in 63.722 seconds. These large run times and energy costs coupled with three safety violations and 143 minutes of extra track time resulted in a final cost of $ 1,902,937.67. Although this is much higher than the initial allotted budget of $500,000, the cost can be reduced by faster, better runs if future development is undertaken.