This UARTS FEAST team will design an aerospace vehicle system for endangered plant species detection and monitoring for the University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Some of the plants of particular interest can be found HERE.

The area to be surveyed is approximately 0.6 miles long and 0.6 miles wide. It is a wetland environment, and is damaged when stepped on by people, no matter how careful; hence the request for a flying system to perform inspections. Naturalists at the gardens have indicated that they use the PictureThis – Plant Identifier free app to classify plants. Users upload pictures (in a wide range of formats) to the app, and it returns a classification.

Your team is free to use this app, or any equivalent one. Your team is tasked with the design, build and test of the system. To follow FAA and University regulations, the prototype(s) should always be in line of sight of a pilot when flying. The site is near a bird observation platform that may be used as a base of operations. Because many waterfowl and migratory songbirds use the wetlands, noise levels should be considered in the inspection system’s design.

Present a conceptual design for the rare plant detection and monitoring system. An example source of inspiration may be the Festo Manta Ray Blimp.

Students apply to a specific role on team as follows:

Aerospace Vehicle Designer (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Some knowledge of how aerospace vehicles come together. Having taken Engin 100 Section 700 is a plus.

Likely Majors/Minors: AERO, CLIMATE, ME, ROB, SPACE

Control Engineer (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Responsible for Electronics and Control, Communications to/from vehicle.

Likely Majors/Minors: CE, CEE, EE, IOE, ME

Payload Specialist (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Camera selection, computer vision, interfacing with plant identification software.

Likely Majors/Minors: CE, CS, EE, ROB

Vehicle Designer/Aesthetics/Biomimicry (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: An understanding of form, function and aesthetics. An interest in how animals move, and how to build beautiful mechanisms that recreate the motion.

Likely Majors/Minors: ARCH, ARTDES, BIO, DANCE, KINES

Botanist (2 Students)

Preferred Skills: Knowledge in endangered plant identification, an interest in conservation.

Likely Majors/Minors: BIO, EARTH, ENVIRON, PITE

Faculty Project Lead

Anouck Girard received the Ph.D. degree in ocean engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, in 2002. She has been with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, since 2006, where she is currently a Professor of Robotics and Aerospace Engineering. She has co-authored the book Fundamentals of Aerospace Navigation and Guidance (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Her current research interests include vehicle dynamics and control, as well as decision systems. Dr. Girard was a recipient of the Silver Shaft Teaching Award from the University of Michigan and a Best Student Paper Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In Winter 2022, she was a Fulbright Scholar in the Dynamic Systems and Simulation Laboratory at the Technical University of Crete.
Students: 10


Meeting Details: Tuesdays, 10am-12pm

Application: Consider including a link to your portfolio or other websites in the personal statement portion of your application to share work you would like considered as part of your submission.

Summer Opportunity: Summer research fellowships may be available for qualifying students.

Citizenship Requirements: This project is open to all students on campus.

IP/NDA: Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign an Intellectual Property (IP) Agreement prior to participation.

Course Substitutions: CoE Honors