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Senior Design Project Selected for Award to Build SUAS for BORDERS

January 18, 2013
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Parks College News, Research

Throughout the academic year, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology students are required to work on various projects from their senior design capstone course´╗┐. Recently, one of the projects, Skydda, was awarded funding to build a prototype of a Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) design they submitted through the BORDERS SUAS Competition.

The competition, under the leadership of Science and Technology’s Borders and Maritime Security Division (BMD) and Office of University Programs of the Department of Homeland Security, challenges students to develop prototypes for SUAS based on government-provided design criteria. The competition rewards innovative design concepts meeting the requirements of border and maritime surveillance missions. BMD was particularly interested in groups developing a SUAS prototype that would be relatively quiet during low altitude operations, but still within specified constraints of range, dash speed, payload, and size, weight and power.

skydda-teamLeft to Right: Jeremy Payne, Ellen Pifer, Kevin Keadle, and Grant Spencer

“This project, with its demanding list of requirements, pushed our engineering knowledge, communication and design skills to a whole new level.” Ellen Pifer, Parks College senior and Skydda Project Lead´╗┐

A peer-review panel consisting of government personnel and experts from industry and academia judged each submitted project based on communication of project objectives, design approach, project organization, and probability of success.

“We are so excited to see that our hard work and long hours paid off and that our design is now funded by a government contract,” said Pifer. “Now we must move to the most difficult challenge of transforming our design on paper into something that can fly.”

Skydda team members will begin building a sub-scale model for demonstration during the spring 2013 semester. Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security will visit SLU late in the semester to evaluate the student’s demonstration and technical report.

Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, Oklahoma State University, Purdue University, and Texas A&M were among those selected for funding.

Skydda Project Team Members

  • Project PI/Mentor: Sanjay Jayaram, Ph.D.
  • Project Leads: Jeremy Payne, Ellen Pifer
  • Project Members: Kevin Keadle, Jeremy Payne, Ellen Pifer, Grant Spencer

What is BORDERS?

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence (COE) led by The University of Arizona. As a consortium of 15 premier institutions, BORDERS is dedicated to the development of innovative technologies, proficient processes, and effective policies that will help protect our Nation’s borders, foster international trade, and enhance long-term understanding of immigration dynamics.

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