“Trial by Flyer: Building Quadcopters From Scratch in a Ten-Week Capstone Course” by Swanson

  • ©Steven Swanson

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    Trial by Flyer: Building Quadcopters From Scratch in a Ten-Week Capstone Course

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    We describe our experience teaching an intensive capstone course in which pairs of students build the hardware and software for a remote-controller quad-rotor aircraft (i.e., a quadcopter or “drone”) from scratch in one 10-week quarter. The course covers printed circuit board (PCB) design and assembly, basic control theory and sensor fusion, and embedded systems programming. To reduce the workload on course staff and provide higher-quality feedback on student designs, we have implemented an automated PCB design checking tool/autograder. We describe the course content in detail, identify the challenges it presents to students and course staff, and propose changes to further increase student success and improve the scalability of the course.


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