Engineering Students Win

May 7, 2017

Students in Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and the Electrical Engineering departments took first place in the Air Force Research Lab Challenge.

Representatives from the United States Air Force recently visited the UMD campus to congratulate a group of student engineers on a big win. The students earned first place in a national Air Force Research Lab Challenge that involved designing and building a load carrying device. While here, the Air Force representatives presented the team with an award and banner.

The robotic pack mule can carry a load of more than 350 pounds and can be run by remote or follow someone via a special tracking tag.

The team built a robotic pack mule that can carry up to 350 pounds and run silent with an electric drive, through smooth or difficult terrain, for two miles with speeds up to 15 miles per hour. An extra feature the team incorporated into their design is the ability to drive it remotely or use a hands-off autonomous function where the vehicle drives itself and simply follows the airman where ever they walk or run.

The UMD team includes students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and Electrical Engineering departments. They started this project at the beginning of the school year as a multi-disciplinary senior design capstone project and finished it this semester. They competed against many other schools including the United States Military Academy at West Point, Texas A&M and Johns Hopkins University.

The Civil Engineering and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering departments are part of UMD’s Swenson College of Science and Engineering. The college has 3,275 undergraduates and 220 graduate students and is home to ten academic departments, as well as the Large Lakes Observatory, the UMD Air Force ROTC program, and the Iron Range Engineering program. SCSE connects students with hands-on research opportunities through its collaboration with multiple research institutions and area businesses.