News

News, Uncategorized / 11.06.2018

The evolution of bipedal robots may follow a road once traveled by living species – the inclusion of a tail. In the Robotics and Mechatronics Lab of Pinhas Ben-Tzvi, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, the tail has become a captivating solution for the problem of bipedal and quadrupedal robot stabilizing and maneuvering. “If you’ve seen robotic quadrupeds, they are very big and very expensive, with articulated legs incorporating multiple degrees of freedom,” said Ben-Tzvi. “The machines use the leg’s multiple degrees of freedom to maneuver and stabilize so if they are pushed from the side, the legs adjust like a human to keep it from falling.” The problem is that with legs so complex, they are large and...

News, Uncategorized / 11.06.2018

BWX Technologies, Inc. presented a check for $4,000 to the department for the senior design program to go toward a project next year working alongside QL+. BWXT and non-profit QL+ joined forces this year as well, resulting in a push-up plank device to help a retired Army officer who lost her arm and shoulder maintain her fitness. In the photo above, Azim Eskandarian, department head and Nicholas and Rebecca Des Champs Chair, stands with Jodee Harris (BSME '16) and Jackson Sale (BSME '15) of BWXT, and associate professor of practice Robin Ott, senior design program director....

News, Uncategorized / 11.06.2018

The Virginia Tech AgBot team clinched first place in the third annual AgBot Challenge May 19 at Gerrish Farms in Rockville, Indiana, earning a top award of $30,000. The 2018 event, hosted by Gerrish Farms and airBridge LLC, was broken into two separate challenges – weed and feed, and harvesting – with university and industry teams competing head-to-head for $100,000 in prizes. Virginia Tech’s team won the watermelon harvesting challenge by creating an autonomous system that could identify, sort, and harvest ripe watermelons in a field. Each team in the harvesting competition was scored in mechanics, software, innovativeness of their solution, and execution of their solution. To build a harvester and the autonomous vehicle that pulls it, two separate teams were formed. A...

News, Uncategorized / 11.06.2018

After a journey that involved a crash, a dead battery, and late-night coding sprints, a Virginia Tech engineering team took third place in the first year of an autonomous vehicle competition held by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and General Motors. Victor Tango AutoDrive was the only one of eight teams to successfully complete all three portions of the AutoDrive Challenge, held at the GM Desert Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona. The challenges were based on complex perception, navigation, and behavior algorithms for a self-driving car, such as stopping at stop signs or staying in lane lines. The road to Yuma For the Victor Tango team, the road to Yuma itself was the first challenge. “It is really an underdog success story,” said Andy...

News, Uncategorized / 11.06.2018

For the past four years 16 teams from across the country have been working to turn a stock Chevy Camaro into an efficient hybrid vehicle as part of EcoCAR 3, a challenge sponsored by the Department of Energy and General Motors. The end of EcoCAR 3 marks the 30th year of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions, going back to 1988’s Methanol Marathon. Since its inception in 1994, the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) has taken part in nine AVT competitions under the leadership of Doug Nelson, professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. The run includes a fourth place finish this year where the team missed a podium spot by a single point to Alabama, to wrap up EcoCAR 3. While...