Autonomous Mobile Sensor System for Quadcopter

Autonomous Mobile Sensor System for Quadcopter

MDA, LLC is a US Government Contractor. For this reason, this project is only open to students who are U.S. Citizens.

MDA Information Systems LLC (MDA) is an independent U.S. company that provides efficient and advanced information solutions to government and commercial customers in four specialty areas: Geospatial Solutions, ISR Systems, Weather Services and Sensor Systems Technologies.

With the advent of cheaper, lightweight sensors, longer battery life, and advances in vision and signal processing, new opportunities have arisen for using small autonomous (and manually controlled) flying vehicles for environmental sensing, maintenance and inspection, search and rescue, and other applications. Because the challenges change on a regular basis, a flexible, modular system is desired to meet emerging needs.

Students on this team will develop a navigation system for quadcopters to target beacons employed via radio frequencies. Stakeholders include emergency personnel, mountain climbers, and campers. Additional goals for the team include automating an aspect of the payload, extracting precision telemetry, and developing object recognition and tracking.

More Information


Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign the following two documents in January 2018:

Click here to view Student IP Agreement

Click here to view NDA

How to Apply

Project Features

  • Skill level All levels
  • Students 7-10 Students
  • Likely Majors AERO, CE, CS, EE, ISD-SYSTEMS, ME
  • Course Substitutions Honors, ISD-Systems, ECE Cognate, CS, ME 490, EE MDE, CE MDE
  • IP & NDA Required? Yes
  • Summer Opportunity Interview Guaranteed
  • Systems Integration (1-2 Students)

    Systems engineering, broad well established engineering skills, project experience

    • Likely Majors: ISD-SYSTEMS
  • Embedded systems (1-2 Students)

    Development of integration circuitry, intermediate processing requirements, and data storage

    • Likely majors: CE
  • Flight Airframe Design and Develop, Flight Plan Development (1 Student)

    Design modification of airframe to support sensor integration, vibration control, line of sight access, etc. Development of flight control functionality

    • Likely Majors: AERO, ME
  • Camera Control (1 Student)

    Hardware/sensor selection, controls/robotics

    • Likely Majors: EE, CE, ME
  • RF Technology (1-2 Students)

    General RF knowledge and experience

    • Likely Majors: EE
  • Image Processing (2 Students)

    Development of image processing/ interpretation algorithms to identify and describe beacon features (distance, orientation, etc.) for camera control and flight planning

    • Likely Majors: CSE/CS-LSA, CE

Faculty Mentor: Brent Griffin
Assistant Research Scientist
Brent Griffin is an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan conducting research in robotics and computer vision. His academic research interests include perception, reasoning, and control on physical robot systems and applications of wireless power transfer. In addition to this academic work, he has electro-mechanical system design and manufacturing experience in the aerospace and scientific instrument industries.

Sponsor Mentor: Richard Spangler2017 Stryker projects
UM Masters in Applied Interdisciplinary Mathematics, 2010, BSEE from University of Detroit, 1994. Mr. Spangler has worked as an engineer for MDA LLC and predecessor companies since 1997. Current research interests involve the automated extraction of target information from image data, particularly for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Other work has included development of image processing and analysis algorithms for SAR, bistatic radar, and interferometry. Other work includes system engineering involving radar systems, orbitology, and other applications; as well as field work for deploying experimental systems.
For More Information About This Sponsor, Visit Their Website (MDA Information Systems).