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.

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.