IEEE Student Chapter

CURRENT PROJECT

PROJECT:  Build a Competition-Level Robot

One of the key activities our IEEE students are proud to be involved in is to build a robot and compete in the inter-university robotics competitions conducted by the IEEE.  The competition rules and the objectives change each year; however, they are provided by the competition organizers beforehand, which are used to aid in the design, build, and programming of the robot.

Using an off-the-shelf robot chassis, our students decided to design and build the robot in our Electrical/Electronics Lab. The objective of these competitions is to provide the students with an understand of the nuances of selecting suitable material to build the robot hardware, such as the wheels, the motors, and the microcontroller processor, and as well as to build the electric circuits, to program the microcontroller, and then to operate the robot.

The UNA Robotics Team, with its birth in January 2022, was able to build the robot to compete at the 2022 IEEE SoutheastCon in Mobile, AL held in March 2022 and reached the semifinals. This is a very commendable achievement for a team in its first year of competition indicating their hard work and dedication – all while taking full-course loads.  

For the 2023 Robotics Competition, the team has started the work of building a new robot.  We welcome new students interested in joining the IEEE Robotics Team and may contact Dr. Ravi Gollapalli, the advisor, by email at rgollapalli@una.edu or by stopping by his office in SET 161 for information. 

PREVIOUS PROJECT

PROJECT:  Gas ATV to Electric ATV Conversion

Electric vehicles are the way of the future. They are currently the fastest growing vehicle market in the U.S. With electric trucks set to hit the market in the next year or two, the outlook is very positive. The need for electric vehicles is on the rise just as fast. As more taxes and laws are passed to reduce emissions, gas-powered cars will have to keep trying to evolve leading to price raises that will match electric vehicles. This will allow electric vehicle to outperform gas-powered cars in almost every category.

As engineers, especially electrical and mechanical engineers, it is very important to keep up with the newest technology being used in the real world. This project presented the team with the perfect opportunity to do just that. Starting with a gas-powered, four-wheeled ATV (all-terrain vehicle), they got to see all the components of modern gas-powered vehicle. Then converting it to electric, the students became knowledgeable in the differences between electric- and gas-powered vehicles. They also got to put theories and equations learned in class into practice by building this electric four-wheeled ATV.

For students, this experience was invaluable for entering the workforce – especially for the few who might be very interested in the new electric vehicle market. They now have hands-on knowledge that can carried over into the workforce. Overall, this project could be one of the most valuable experience for an engineering student at the University of North Alabama.

TASKS ACHIEVED:

Ultimate Task:  Convert a gas-powered, four-wheeled ATV to a fully electric-powered, four-wheeled ATV.

Smaller Achievement Tasks:

  1. Make the vehicle capable of driving desirable distances:
    • Drive about campus without fear of the batteries failing.
  2. Being able to drive and maintain a certain speed:
    • Attain speeds of up to 15 or 20 mph.
  3. Being able to carry a certain weight:
    • Be able to carry a 200-pound rider comfortably.