Engineering students at UAriz develop new technologies for Tucson Electric Power
TUCSON, Arizona – An engineering student collaboration with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) won the crown at this year’s UA Design Day competition.
“I was just a bit shocked,” said Peter Vollmer, a mechanical engineer on the project.
The team of six students designed and built a rover to survey a wind farm park owned by TEP in New Mexico.
“They wanted to see if they could replace a physical person going there because the nearest substation or TEP station is about six and a half hours away. And so they wanted to see whether it is possible to develop an autonomous robot influenced by Ai to check whether the wind turbines are working efficiently, ”said Susannah Kohn, mechanical engineer.
Ultimately, TEP manpower and resources will be saved. So why New Mexico? According to TEP, the wind blows better in our border state where the wind farm is located than in the Tucson region.
“We have solar power here in the middle of the day and now we get wind in the middle of the night and that helps us deliver renewable energy at different times of the day,” said Chris Lynn, the TEP sponsoring supervisor.
Students said it felt good to be recognized for a project as significant as this that will have an enduring impact.
“It got me pretty much out of the field, I really didn’t feel like expecting anything that I think put expectations low for myself. Yes, that was definitely exciting and shocking for me, ”said Juliusz” Maurice “Jakobowski, a computer engineer.
“It just feels good and is also a bit relieved, because we put the Sony hours in such a big way last year that it’s nice to know that it has paid off,” said Vollmer.
“It could have been like an explosion when I saw our names pop up,” said Kohn.
TEP has been a sponsor of this competition for several years and this is the first year a team they sponsor has won.
“You’ve been using really great technology all the way and really following the process, and we need more innovation to tackle the cleaner, greener network of the future that we want to build,” said Lynn.
And this research has already inspired others to use the same type of robot application.
“U of A still allowed us to develop a thinking and problem-solving method to get our project to a close,” said Torrey Petersen, industrial engineer within the project.
“Yes, this class definitely feels like it’s the next step in taking what we’ve learned to the next level or making it a reality,” said Jakobowski.
“Not only have we learned the lessons and experiences of how we will be involved in the future industry, but we have also learned a lot about ourselves, how we work as a team and how we can continue to improve in the future,” said Daniel Lansdown, a mechanical engineer.
Click here to see the winning project and presentation.