College of Aeronautics Grad Students Win Design Competition

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A team of Florida Tech graduate students in the College of Aeronautics won first place in the prestigious University Design Competition for Addressing Airport Needs from the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP).

Working with faculty advisor Debbie Carstens, graduate student team members Erin Egoroff, Abdullah “Barry” Bouran and Bhoomin Chauhan designed a system using LiDAR and pressure plates to alert air traffic controllers of impending runway incursions. They took first place in the Runway Safety/Runway Incursions/Runway Excursions challenge area. This project was part of a semester-long class project for Human Performance 1.

The full design may be found here.

The competition encourages students to design innovative and practical solutions to challenges at our nation’s airports. Students were invited to propose innovations in any of four technical challenge areas: Airport Operation and Maintenance, Runway Safety/Runway Incursions/Runway Excursions, Airport Environmental Interactions, and Airport Management and Planning. The competition required that students work with a faculty adviser and that they reach out to airport operators and industry experts to obtain advice and assess the practicality of their proposed design solutions.

Volunteer panels of airport industry and academic practitioners as well as FAA representatives selected the winning submissions from among the proposals submitted by 25 student teams.

“The review panel felt that the team submitted a well-written proposal with an interesting concept in involving LiDAR that was easy to read and understand,” Lawrence Goldstein, senior program officer of Cooperative Research Programs, wrote to Carstens announcing the team’s first-place award. “They commended the team for doing a great job on its cost benefit analysis.”

First-place teams received their awards and presented their work July 25 at the National Academies’ Keck Center in Washington, D.C. The students each won a $1,000. The Transportation Research Board also provided an additional $3,000 to help defray travel expenses for the awards ceremony. Furthermore, two team members will also have all expenses paid to attend the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Runway Safety Summit held in December in Irvine, California, to present their work.

Among the congratulatory notes for the wining Florida Tech team was one from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

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