AE Alumni Control Design Challenge


Tim Bretl, left, and a student in Bretl's robotics lab.
Tim Bretl, left, and a student in Bretl's robotics lab.
If you’re up for a challenge in the field of Aerospace Control, Tim Bretl, Associate Professor in Aerospace Engineering at Illinois, has just the thing for you! Read on to learn about and participate in a competition designed with AE alumni in mind. Test your knowledge, submit your results, and challenge your AE friends! You can check out winning submissions on the leaderboard we’ll post on Facebook on our AE at Illinois Control Design Challenge group page. The winner will be invited to campus to claim bragging rights during an awards presentation at the AE tailgate event in October!

Dear Friends,

I’m writing to announce the first annual AE Alumni Control Design Challenge!

Students in AE353 (Aerospace Control Systems) this semester completed four design projects. Each project required them to design, implement, and test a control system for some real-world application in a MATLAB simulation.

One project in particular asked students to maximize the flight distance of an unpowered glider. Here is an example flight:

They had fun with this project and decided to challenge you - the Illinois AE Alumni - to match their performance. Here is everything you need to get started. In particular, take a look at 'ProblemStatement.pdf.' It tells you how to design and implement your own controller, how to test this controller in simulation, and how to report your results by filling out this survey.

Doing this requires access to MATLAB and about 30 minutes of your time. Of course, you could continue to spend as much time as you like if you are going for the win!

Also included in the files are both the original assignment that was given to the students (DesignProblem03.pdf) and two exemplary student reports (with names redacted). Each student wrote a report of similarly high quality, individually, for each of their design projects.

If you find this design challenge to be - um - challenging, then head to FaceBook and join the conversation:

We're always moving onward and upward in AE at Illinois!

Tim Bretl

Associate Professor and Associate Head
Department of Aerospace Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

email: tbretlatillinois [dot] edu
phone: 217-244-3126