Design Review

Video Lecture

Video, Slides

updated Fa 2020


The design review is a 30-minute meeting intended to make sure that the team has a successful project. Students will present and defend their design while instructors and TAs critique it, identifying any infeasible or unsafe aspects and steering the team toward success. Instructors and TAs will ask questions throughout and may choose the order of blocks to be discussed. Specifically, here is what the course staff are looking for:
  1. Evidence that the overall design and high-level requirements solve the problem stated.
  2. Check if the overall design has suitable difficulty for course standards and completion in one semester. Scope may need to be adjusted if otherwise.
  3. Check team members' engineering preparedness to implement each module.
  4. Check that each team member is assigned an equal portion of the project effort.
Prepare for the following sequence.
  1. Promptly project the design document on projector.
  2. Introduce team members (name, major, and the project part each is in charge of).
  3. Present problem statement and proposed solution (<1 minutes) following the template in DDC (see Description 1.a)
  4. Present design overview (<5 minutes)
    1. High-level requirements: check DDC
    2. Block diagram: check DDC
    3. Physical design
  5. For the remainder of the review, you will participate in a detailed discussion of the design. Plan to cover each block, one at a time, beginning with the most critical. The course staff will ask questions and may step in to guide the discussion. Be prepared to discuss all aspects of your design with a focus on the following.
    1. Requirements & Verification: (see DDC); We'll look at all the important block requirements. Prepare to justify the components chosen and compare with important alternatives.
    2. Evidence that the design meets requirements (use the following as applicable)
      • Simulations
      • Calculations
      • Measurements
      • Schematics
      • Flowcharts
      • Mechanical drawings
      • Tolerance analysis: check DDC
      • Schedule: Suggestions:
        1. Think about what you can do in parallel, what has to be sequential;
        2. Work on hardware before software;
        3. Perform unit testing before system testing;
        4. Unit test each module on a breadboard before starting PCB design);
        5. Leave margin for unexpected delays or accidents. You are mostly responsible for those exceptions, just as if you were the owner of this senior design business;
      • Cost:hourly rate is ~$50 not $10. In addition, apply the 2.5x overhead multiplier ($125/hr is the cost of your senior design business), which includes the cost of salaries of you, your boss, CxOs, sales, janitors, etc.


The DR Grading Rubric is available to guide your DR preparation. Two sample Design Review documents are available as examples of what we expect: a Good Sample DR, a Moderate Sample DR, and a good example R&V table as it was presented in a final report. Notes are made in red type to point out what is lacking. Note that the grading rubrics and point structure may have evolved since these reports were generated, so use them only as a guide as to what we are generally expecting.

Submission and Deadlines

Your design document should be uploaded to PACE in PDF format by Midnight the Friday before design review. If you uploaded a mock DR document to PACE, please make sure that it has been removed before uploading the final DR..

Tech must-know and FAQ for design

Here is the link of "Tech must-know and FAQ for design" which is accessible after logging into

Over semesters, ECE445 course staff have encountered repeated mistakes from students. The document above is designed to provide students with the essential knowledge needed in order to have a good design. Spending 5 min reading it might save you 15 hours later. Also, there might be some quiz questions in your DDC or Design Review. Please help us improve this document. We value your feedback!

Autonomous Sailboat

Riley Baker, Arthur Liang, Lorenzo Rodriguez Perez

Autonomous Sailboat

Featured Project

# Autonomous Sailboat

Team Members:

- Riley Baker (rileymb3)

- Lorenzo Pérez (lr12)

- Arthur Liang (chianl2)

# Problem

WRSC (World Robotic Sailing Championship) is an autonomous sailing competition that aims at stimulating the development of autonomous marine robotics. In order to make autonomous sailing more accessible, some scholars have created a generic educational design. However, these models utilize expensive and scarce autopilot systems such as the Pixhawk Flight controller.

# Solution

The goal of this project is to make an affordable, user- friendly RC sailboat that can be used as a means of learning autonomous sailing on a smaller scale. The Autonomous Sailboat will have dual mode capability, allowing the operator to switch from manual to autonomous mode where the boat will maintain its current compass heading. The boat will transmit its sensor data back to base where the operator can use it to better the autonomous mode capability and keep track of the boat’s position in the water. Amateur sailors will benefit from the “return to base” functionality provided by the autonomous system.

# Solution Components

## On-board

### Sensors

Pixhawk - Connect GPS and compass sensors to microcontroller that allows for a stable state system within the autonomous mode. A shaft decoder that serves as a wind vane sensor that we plan to attach to the head of the mast to detect wind direction and speed. A compass/accelerometer sensor and GPS to detect the position of the boat and direction of travel.

### Actuators

2 servos - one winch servo that controls the orientation of the mainsail and one that controls that orientation of the rudder

### Communication devices

5 channel 2.4 GHz receiver - A receiver that will be used to select autonomous or manual mode and will trigger orders when in manual mode.

5 channel 2.4 GHz transmitter - A transmitter that will have the ability to switch between autonomous and manual mode. It will also transfer servos movements when in manual mode.

### Power

LiPo battery

## Ground control

Microcontroller - A microcontroller that records sensor output and servo settings for radio control and autonomous modes. Software on microcontroller processes the sensor input and determines the optimum rudder and sail winch servo settings needed to maintain a prescribed course for the given wind direction.

# Criterion For Success

1. Implement dual mode capability

2. Boat can maintain a given compass heading after being switched to autonomous mode and incorporates a “return to base” feature that returns the sailboat back to its starting position

3. Boat can record and transmit servo, sensor, and position data back to base

Project Videos