Texas A&M Engineering News The Texas A&M University College of Engineering is one of the largest engineering schools in the country. And our college consistently ranks among the nation's top public undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. http://engineering.tamu.edu Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Capstone team rolls out project to help upgrade local’s wheelchair Jennifer Reiley <jreiley@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/capstone-team-rolls-out-project-to-help-upgrade-locals-wheelchair <p><img src="/media/5709144/capstone-team.jpg" width="465" height="310" src="/media/5709144/capstone-team.jpg" alt="Wheelchair capstone" class="leftalign"/>In search of ways to make life a little easier for a College Station resident, six mechanical engineering seniors at Texas A&amp;M University devoted their senior capstone design project to improving and upgrading a wheelchair.</p> <p>The team’s goal was to develop a fully functioning mechanical chair, mostly from scratch, while applying lessons they learned in the classroom to a real-world scenario. Over the course of the year, students were expected to learn, synthesize and develop skills of the engineering practice, while also working as a team.</p> <p>“At the end of the day our team knew we were helping someone create a better quality of life, and that is always the driving factor behind our decisions,” said team member Clare McDougall. “We are all touched and proud to have the opportunity to give back to a fellow community member in such a significant way.”</p> <p>The Wheelchair Design Team consisted of all senior mechanical engineering majors — McDougall, Andres Alvarado, Lane Garner, Jacob Garner, Miguel Hoffmann and Tristen Tinar. All of the students expect to graduate in December.</p> <p>The team first met with their sponsor, who requested to remain anonymous, in the spring to review the specific needs for the team to address in the redesign. The students then broke the chair down into four areas: leg supports, arm supports, base and the seat/backrest system.</p> <p>“The chair had to perform basic functions like recline/incline, adjust in various ways to accommodate for their measurements, and fit under tables and in doorframes. Some requirements were more specific relating to how he/she opens doors and how he/she will enter/leave the chair,” McDougall said.</p> <p>In the initial brainstorming for a basic design, team members researched design ergonomics, existing patents and alternative designs for the chair. McDougall said the team based their idea for their reclining mechanism from a La-Z Boy chair.</p> <p>After brainstorming, the team began modeling the design. Team members had to learn how to budget their time for the process of planning, designing, receiving feedback and redesigning until they created a satisfactory model.</p> <p>“This process requires an immense amount of planning and time management, which isn’t necessarily what’s on the forefront of people’s minds when they enter their senior year,” McDougall said.</p> <p>“Prototyping was never meant to easy; it is meant to be a tedious, iterative and often frustrating process,” said Alvarado. “But in the end, it is extremely rewarding to see the final working product.”</p> <p>Alvarado said the students were challenged with balancing course expectations with the reality of the project, which did not always align.</p> <p>“Ultimately, our team’s goal is not attempting to apply all concepts learned in the classroom to our project, but rather delivering a finished, operational and safe wheelchair to our client,” Alvarado said. “Along the way we do our best to match the criteria of the course with the nature of our project.”</p> <p>McDougall said she has taken away lessons in how to take and respond to constructive criticism, as well as how to work as a team over the last two semesters. Alvarado said there has been a transformation of sorts after the students met in the spring, each with their respective critical thinking mindsets, problem solving skills and mass of engineering knowledge.<img src="/media/5709145/welding.jpg" width="323" height="215" src="/media/5709145/welding.jpg" alt="Welding" class="rightalign"/></p> <p>By working in the machine lab building the pieces of the chair from scratch, Alvarado said the team also honed skills that could not be learned in the classroom.</p> <p>“But in the context of tackling our first full-blown engineering project, we had little experience in effectively communicating, practicing integrity and dealing with conflict. Fast-forwarding to now, each one of us has seen immense growth in those areas. These are the types characteristics that matter at the end of the day in the professional engineering world, rather than just the pure technical expertise gained from our project,” Alvarado said.</p> <p><a href="mailto:joanna.tsenn@tamu.edu">For more information about the senior capstone design program or to sponsor a future capstone project, email Dr. Joanna Tsenn</a>.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/capstone-team-rolls-out-project-to-help-upgrade-locals-wheelchair http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/capstone-team-rolls-out-project-to-help-upgrade-locals-wheelchair Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Department of biomedical engineering hosting annual showcase in February 2018 Marcus Misztal <m_misztal@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/department-of-biomedical-engineering-hosting-annual-showcase-in-february-2018 <p><img width="289" height="385" src="/media/5710651/BMEN Showcase_289x385.jpg" alt="BMEN Showcase.jpeg" style="float: right;"/>The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University will host its annual showcase on Feb. 12, 2018. The all-day event includes a career fair, student/company luncheon and other engagement opportunities among students, faculty and industry representatives.</p> <p>Biomedical engineering students will have the opportunity to meet with participating companies about openings for co-ops, internships and full-time positions. Ultimately, the showcase allows students to network with industry to obtain information about career paths and the transition into a job after graduating from Texas A&amp;M.</p> <p>Companies involved in the showcase have the opportunity to build lasting relationships with biomedical engineering students. At a typical career fair, companies may only spend 30 to 60 seconds interacting with each student; in comparison, the biomedical engineering showcase allows for longer conversations with multiple students.</p> <p>Interactions are an important aspect for companies as well as students to learn about the different aspects each party has to offer. Students learn valuable skills that cannot be taught within a classroom, leading Texas A&amp;M biomedical engineering students to stand apart from their competition. </p> <p>“As one of the founders of this event, I had first-hand experience on collaborating with the department and the department’s student organizations. Without everyone working together, the first showcase would not have been a success,” said Ashley Tucker, former president of Alpha Eta Mu Beta, the biomedical engineering honors society. “This event has shown me how much the department and student organizations really care about their students and how they want to see them succeed after graduating.” </p> <p>This year’s showcase will be comprised of four components: a career fair, a student/company luncheon, a senior design poster session and tours of the department’s research facilities. These activities are designed to show companies that students in biomedical engineering at Texas A&amp;M are excelling and effectively conveying information both in and out of the classroom setting.</p> <p>More than 20 company participants are anticipated for the 2018 showcase, which is double what the 2017 showcase hosted. In addition, the luncheon is being expanded to include any biomedical engineering senior interested in a full-time position, for more targeted networking between students and industry. The new atmosphere will hopefully lead to more engaging conversations and a better return on investment for everyone involved.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/department-of-biomedical-engineering-hosting-annual-showcase-in-february-2018 http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/department-of-biomedical-engineering-hosting-annual-showcase-in-february-2018 Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Materials science and engineering graduate student serves as ASM international officer Lorian Hopcus <lorian.hopcus@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/materials-science-and-engineering-graduate-student-serves-as-asm-international-officer <p>Olga Eliseeva, a graduate student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, is serving as one of three student voices on the board of trustees for ASM International (ASMI).</p> <p><img width="458" height="304" src="/media/5709143/asm-board-2017-web_458x304.jpg" alt="Olga Eliseeva ASMI Officer" class="leftalign"/>“The mission of ASMI is to connect material engineers from research, industry and government, as well as provide access to reference materials, data and educational content,” Eliseeva said.</p> <p>She hopes to one day become a member of the board of directors for a company or larger international organization and credits this experience with providing exclusive opportunities to learn more about large organizations and how they function.</p> <p>“I also enjoy meeting individuals leading the cutting-edge companies in the field of materials science and engineering,” Eliseeva said. “This opportunity excites me because I love learning of people’s stories and how their careers have unfolded. This also gives me a better understanding of what to expect in the future.”</p> <p>Satisfying her desire to give back, this position sparked Eliseeva’s interest with its ability to leave a lasting impact on the organization that has benefitted her so greatly. Eliseeva’s duties include ensuring the future of ASMI, advising and serving as a voice of the student members to the members of the board.</p> <p>“My favorite part about serving ASMI in this capacity is that I get to meet interesting people every day,” Eliseeva said. “It’s not common to have lunch with delegates from India one day and the president of a major company the next.”</p> <p>Previously, Eliseeva  served as an officer of Material Advantage, an ASM student chapter, for four years at Case Western Reserve University while completing her undergraduate degree. At Texas A&amp;M, she currently serves as the chair of Material Advantage.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/materials-science-and-engineering-graduate-student-serves-as-asm-international-officer http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/12/materials-science-and-engineering-graduate-student-serves-as-asm-international-officer Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Rajanna excels in Three Minute Thesis competition Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/11/rajanna-excels-in-three-minute-thesis-competition <p dir="ltr"><img width="364" height="317" src="/media/5701155/3mt-web_364x317.jpg" alt="Image of Rajanna 3MT" class="rightalign"/>Vijay Rajanna, a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University recently participated in and received several awards for his presentation during the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition held on campus in November.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rajanna received the first place and People’s Choice Award in the doctoral category; he was also selected as the Texas A&amp;M representative at the 3MT regional competition to be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in February 2018 at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the competition, graduate students have three minutes to present their thesis and its significance. This challenges students to consolidate their ideas and research discoveries to present concisely to an audience with no prior expertise. At Texas A&amp;M, 3MT provides a high-impact learning experience for graduate students and is part of the Graduate and Resource Development (G.R.A.D.) for Aggies program.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the competition, Rajanna presented the primary contributions of his doctoral research, which focuses on developing eye movement-based, multi-modal interactions for working on computers. These interactions are crucial in two scenarios – situational impairments, and impairments and disabilities by birth or due to an injury. He explained that in these two scenarios, a user wants to be able to perform at least a few basic operations conveniently on a computer.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In this regard, we have developed a gaze and foot-based interaction framework to achieve accurate ‘point and click’ interactions on a computer,” Rajanna said. “Using this system, the user points the cursor at the desired target – a button – with their eye movements, and selects it by pressing a tiny sensor that is placed inside the shoe of the user. If the user does not have control over the foot, other methods like focusing on the target for 200 milliseconds or eye gestures can be used. With practice, users can point and click much faster than they do with the mouse. In addition, the same framework along with an enhanced virtual keyboard allows the user to enter text on a computer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Rajanna said that the 3MT competition is challenging, but is also highly rewarding. He currently works in the Sketch Recognition Lab under director Dr. Tracy Hammond, who is a professor in the department.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I would like to thank my advisor Dr. Tracy Hammond and the members of the Sketch Recognition Lab who provided feedback on my written drafts and practice talks,” Rajanna said. “Also, I served as a graduate teaching fellow for two semesters, where I was mentored by Dr. John Keyser, Dr. Dilma Da Silva, Dr. Joseph Hurley, Dr. Aakash Tyagi and Dr. Vikram Kinra, who offered a significant learning experience.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Rajanna’s ongoing research is centered on developing eye-movement based authentication methods to prevent shoulder surfing attacks, which occur in crowded places where it is easy to peer over another’s shoulder and steal potentially sensitive information, and achieving faster text entry in virtual reality using eye movements.</p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/11/rajanna-excels-in-three-minute-thesis-competition http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/11/rajanna-excels-in-three-minute-thesis-competition Mon, 11 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Computer science seniors demonstrate innovation at NASA Design Challenge Showcase Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/08/computer-science-seniors-demonstrate-innovation-at-nasa-design-challenge-showcase <p dir="ltr">Four students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University participated in the Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC) NASA Design Challenge Showcase, held Nov.14 in Houston.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Aurora Aggies consisted of computer science seniors Walter Pospick, Alyssa Valdez, Natalie Criscione and Kevin Lewis. Out of 14 teams across Texas, they placed fourth overall, fourth in poster presentation and first in oral presentation for their project,“Intelligent Lighting Control Systems.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The objective of their project was to design an intelligent lighting control system that supports biological circadian rhythms and adapts over time, providing a healthy living environment for astronauts that is easy to control.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I had fun working with my group and NASA on this project. It was a great opportunity to work on a solution to a real-world problem that NASA is trying explore,” Valdez said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The TSGC Design Challenge, which is sponsored by NASA and administered by the Texas Space Grant Consortium, is a unique academic experience offering undergraduate students an opportunity to propose, design and generate a solution toward solving research objectives of importance to NASA and its mission.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Aurora Aggies are enrolled in a capstone course taught by Dr. Bruce Gooch, an associate professor in the department.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We were told that the program was closed,” Gooch said. “I told the students we could do the work anyway. NASA ended up opening a competition for inclusion in the program based on a preliminary plan and this group won. They have been fighting from the beginning.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The overall experience provides student team members with an opportunity to engage in scientific research, hands-on design, space-related career opportunities, communication skills and educational outreach.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/08/computer-science-seniors-demonstrate-innovation-at-nasa-design-challenge-showcase http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/08/computer-science-seniors-demonstrate-innovation-at-nasa-design-challenge-showcase Fri, 08 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Wang presents at Lenovo AI Innovation Challenge and Computing Community Consortium Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/07/wang-presents-at-lenovo-ai-innovation-challenge-and-computing-community-consortium <p dir="ltr"><img width="169" height="242" src="/media/3810754/image_atlas_wang_169x242.jpg" alt="Image of Atlas Wang" class="rightalign"/>Dr. Atlas Wang, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, was recently selected as a university challenge winner for the Lenovo AI Innovation Challenge, and was invited to give a presentation at the Supercomputing Conference (SC), held Nov 12-17 in Denver, Colorado.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Lenovo AI Innovation Challenge was created to recognize the great and groundbreaking research in the fields of artificial intelligence and high-performance computing. Winners were selected from global top universities such as Yale University, Oxford and the University of Washington.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the Lenovo Innovation Challenge, each university challenge winner gave a 45-minute presentation on their research related to artificial intelligence and high performance computing. Wang presented his research on “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&amp;v=shHnkwR68hk">Exploiting Low-Quality Visual Data Using Deep Networks</a>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">While many sophisticated models are developed for visual information processing, very few pay attention to their usability in the presence of low-quality data. Most successful models are trained and evaluated on high-quality visual datasets. On the other hand, the data source often cannot be assured of sufficiently high quality in practical scenarios, with degradation factors abundant outside of the controlled research environment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wang’s research focuses on the robust sensing, processing and understanding of low-quality visual data using deep learning methods. His works are expected to generate broad impacts on real-world computer vision applications such as traffic monitoring, security surveillance and video communication.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wang was also selected to present at the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Oct 23-24 in Washington, D.C. The mission of CCC is to propel the computing research community and enable the pursuit of innovative, high-impact research. This year, 47 early-career faculty members and researchers across the United States from most fields of computer science are invited to present their research, and Wang is one of them. Wang introduced his robust computer vision works.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/07/wang-presents-at-lenovo-ai-innovation-challenge-and-computing-community-consortium http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/07/wang-presents-at-lenovo-ai-innovation-challenge-and-computing-community-consortium Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Marathon Oil, Texas A&M partner on unconventional reservoir research program Nancy Luedke <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/07/marathon-oil-texas-am-partner-on-unconventional-reservoir-research-program <p>Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station and Marathon Oil Corporation have initiated an impressive research program to study advanced petroleum fluid flow processes and recovery techniques from unconventional resource plays in the U.S. The new research venture utilizes the work of professors from petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering, as well as a team of Marathon Oil engineers, geologists and geophysicists. Information gained from the research will aid education for students and industry practices for recovering energy.</p> <p><i><img width="412" height="275" src="/media/5701132/zhu-with-student_mod_412x275.jpg" alt="Dr. Ding Zhu and graduate student Ryan Winner shown in fracture conductivity lab with equipment"/></i></p> <p><i>Dr. Ding Zhu (right) and master’s student Ryan Winner <span>running a fracture conductivity experiment</span>.</i></p> <p>Dr. Dan Hill, current head of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, is the principal investigator of the program. Dr. Marcelo Laprea-Bigott, a professor of engineering practice in the department, will work with Hill as project manager.</p> <p>“One thing that makes this a very unique research program is we are working very closely with Marathon Oil,” said Hill. “They will share current practices, seismic information, microseismic monitoring of fracturing, rock samples and well data. The benefits to the department are many. The more we learn, the more we can pass on to our students, graduates as well as undergraduates.”</p> <p>Randy Johnson, Marathon Oil’s vice president of Integrated Performance, helped define the program and is on the program’s steering committee. Jude Nwaozo, a senior reservoir engineer at Marathon Oil, serves as program manager.</p> <p>“At Marathon Oil, we’re actively pursuing advanced research and state-of-the-art techniques that will enhance well performance across our resource plays, and improve the understanding of fluid flow and geologic influences, particularly in emerging basins that are early in the development cycle,” said Johnson. “Texas A&amp;M was selected because of their exemplary vision and capability to partner with us on this advanced technical research. Marathon Oil will provide subject matter experts from several disciplines to create a mutually beneficial knowledge sharing experience. This partnership will combine our practical work in the field with the talent and capabilities of this team from Texas A&amp;M to study fluid flow and geologic influences in complex unconventional reservoirs.”</p> <p><img width="233" height="350" src="/media/5701131/2-marathon-rigs_mod_233x350.jpg" alt="two Marathon Oil drilling rigs with lights on shown at dusk"/></p> <p>Total project funding includes $1.3 million per year from sources within TEES, Texas A&amp;M and the petroleum engineering department. A significant portion of the funding will support 15 graduate students. Other research staff will also be needed, including two or three post-docs, one lab technician and a part-time administrative assistant.</p> <p>The program’s scope is heavily tied to the research strengths of the engineering faculty at Texas A&amp;M. The endeavor has been divided into a handful of main areas. Within each area are different projects headed by one or more faculty members who will guide graduate student researchers. Each of these projects will have a Marathon Oil representative assigned as the main liaison, or mentor, to ensure research focus and provide needed resources. Laprea-Bigott will coordinate meetings and foster communication among the project teams.</p> <p>“I see this as a terrific model for future research direction,” said Hill, who will step down as department head in January. “We are excited and enthusiastic about getting started. We’re hitting the ground running.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/07/marathon-oil-texas-am-partner-on-unconventional-reservoir-research-program http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/07/marathon-oil-texas-am-partner-on-unconventional-reservoir-research-program Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Research team develops novel program to make more cost effective runways Robert (Chris) Scoggins <rcscoggins@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/research-team-develops-novel-program-to-make-more-cost-effective-runways <p class="p1"><span class="s1">An aircraft’s impact on the runway is likely the last thing to cross anyone’s mind when boarding a flight. The constant taking off and landing of aircraft throughout the day places stress on runway pavement, which needs to be in good condition to ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></span></p> <p class="p1">Thanks to a predictive model developed by a collaborative research team led by the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&amp;M, understanding how to build, improve and maintain these runways is now easier than ever.</p> <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><img width="205" height="310" src="/media/5674312/little_dallas_profile_205x310.jpg" alt="Little Runway_Profile" class="leftalign"/>“We are applying a very sophisticated model called Pavement Analysis using Nonlinear Damage Approach, or PANDA,” said Dr. Dallas Little, the project’s principal investigator and a professor of civil engineering. “We are using this model to predict damage that is being measured and recorded under the repeated loading of heavy aircraft such as the 1.4 million-pound Airbus 380 and other next-generation heavy aircraft.”</span></p> <p class="p1">PANDA is the product of almost seven years of development by the research team under a contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the <span class="s1">Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The team includes collaborators Dr. Mashoud Darabi at the University of Kansas, Dr. Eyad Masad of Texas A&amp;M University at Qatar, Dr. Amit Bhasin at The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Rashid Abu Al-Rub and Dr. Maryam Sakafier at Virginia Tech, as well as more than a dozen student researchers.</span></p> <p class="p1">The idea behind PANDA is straightforward but not simple: create a computational model that takes into account variables such as time under pressure, temperature dependency of the asphalt, different types of stress and other environmental factors that impact the usage of runways by aircraft, including diffusion of moisture and oxygen into the asphalt layer. This model would give the user an accurate prediction of the damage the pavement would take over repeated usage and allow designers of airfield and major highway pavement to create or maintain a product that would react optimally to a variety of conditions. The team is using PANDA, in conjunction with test data, to develop a platform that can become a user-friendly software package for industry and commercial usage.</p> <p class="p1">“This package will provide the level of reliability required by design and contract agencies, as well as the driving public, reduction in pavement downtime and safety that the infrastructure of today and tomorrow requires,” Little said.</p> <p class="p1"><img width="870" height="580" src="/media/5674311/little_runways_1_870x580.jpg" alt="Little Runway_1" style="font-size: 10px;"/></p> <p class="p1">PANDA is not the first model of its kind, but is unique in that it has the ability to specifically account for mechanical damage caused by airplane traffic and model this data in conjunction with environmental effects and damages such as moisture, oxidation processes, temperature and other factors.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></p> <p class="p1">As the team has developed PANDA, what has been made clearer is the effect of all the differing variables that have impacted the pavement in ways that are not necessarily intuitive. For example, the coupling of moisture diffusion with mechanical damage may substantially alter the life prediction of the pavement, as well as change the location of damage. Location of damage is of great importance in today’s move toward the design of perpetual pavements that do not require replacement from the subgrade up, but only periodic replacement of the upper surface. So the goal is to make sure localization of damage does not occur in the lower part of the asphalt layer.</p> <p class="p1">“As we continue to develop the PANDA model and use it to evaluate more and more cases of complex loading coupled with environmental effects, we more clearly understand the synergy of all of these effects,” Little said.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></p> <p class="p1">While the project will still need additional computational development and testing time, the end goal is to produce a modeling system that can be used without other pre- or post-processing software by the FAA for design and analysis known as PANDA-Airports that acts as a stand-alone system for aviation installations. <span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span></p> <p class="p1">“We hope that this will be of such great utility for the FAA that they can use it for both commercial and general aviation pavement design and analysis,” Little said.</p> <p class="p1"><i>* The scientific research and fundamental variable models for this project were developed in partnership with the Asphalt Research Consortium over a seven-year period for the FHWA. PANDA is being developed under a grant from the FAA.</i></p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/research-team-develops-novel-program-to-make-more-cost-effective-runways http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/research-team-develops-novel-program-to-make-more-cost-effective-runways Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST DENSO collaborating with Texas A&M Engineering to advance autonomous vehicle research Aubrey Bloom <abloom@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/denso-collaborating-with-texas-am-engineering-to-advance-autonomous-vehicle-research <p><a href="http://www.densocorp-na.com/">DENSO, one of the world’s largest automotive technology, systems and components suppliers</a>, recently donated 30 Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC), devices, worth approximately $30,000 to the Texas A&amp;M University College of Engineering to assist their study of the interaction of autonomous vehicles with the supporting roadway infrastructure. DSRC devices, which enable V2X or vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, are critical to connected and autonomous drive vehicles.</p> <p>A significant amount of the public’s focus on autonomous vehicles has been dedicated to the vehicles themselves, but College of Engineering researchers are also studying ways that infrastructure will help enable an autonomous vehicle ecosystem. For example, DENSO’s DSRC devices are installed at intersections so traffic signals can communicate with autonomous vehicles to optimize traffic flow. </p> <p>The Connected Autonomous Safe Transportation (CAST) Program, a part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M, has been developing autonomous vehicles and performing research on the safety of the individual and entire ecosystem of autonomous and conventional vehicles, pedestrians and the environment. In an effort to accelerate the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles, CAST is advancing novel deployment paradigms and infrastructure-enabled autonomy (IEA) initiatives, where they leverage “connectedness” to off-load and dramatically redistribute autonomous-intelligence between the vehicles and the infrastructure.  </p> <p>According to Dr. Swaminathan Gopalswamy, director of the CAST Program and senior research scientist at the Texas A&amp;M Transportation Institute (TTI), this partnership is invaluable. </p> <p>“Our ability to advance the development of these IEA initiatives will be significantly enhanced by DENSO’s generous donation of 30 DSRC units to Texas A&amp;M Engineering,” he said. “These devices will be a critical part of the smart proving grounds we are developing at The Texas A&amp;M University System’s RELLIS Campus.”</p> <p>Students and faculty in the CAST Program, along with researchers from the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and TTI will all benefit from the relationship with DENSO.</p> <p>This growing relationship is also an early example of the value and potential for industry research partnerships at the RELLIS Campus. </p> <p>“We are pleased DENSO has made such a generous donation to the RELLIS Campus,” said John Barton, associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and executive director of the RELLIS Campus. “Their support through this gift of 30 DSRC units is important as we continue to develop the RELLIS Campus into a premier high-tech research and education campus focused on developing solutions to the challenges we face in the 21st century.”</p> <p>DENSO is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety. With its North American headquarters located in Southfield, Michigan, DENSO employs more than 23,000 people at 28 consolidated subsidiaries and four affiliates across the North American region. DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan has more than 200 subsidiaries and affiliates in 38 countries and regions and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, totaled US $40.4 billion. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/denso-collaborating-with-texas-am-engineering-to-advance-autonomous-vehicle-research http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/denso-collaborating-with-texas-am-engineering-to-advance-autonomous-vehicle-research Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST Donnell works to demystify engineering entrepreneurship Jennifer Reiley <jreiley@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/donnell-works-to-demystify-engineering-entrepreneurship <p><img src="/media/5674291/img_4078.jpg" width="361" height="240" src="/media/5674291/img_4078.jpg" alt="Donnell" class="rightalign"/>There is more to engineering than working in a lab and solving equations, and Jim Donnell, professor of practice in the Texas A&amp;M University Department of Mechanical Engineering, is working to educate and broaden the horizons of engineering students through entrepreneurship.</p> <p>“I am so driven to unlock the mysteries that engineering students have around business. There’s a different (vocabulary) but it really isn’t as difficult as they fear it to be,” Donnell said. “This [course] can help break through that barrier and help them better understand the concepts which may escape them currently.”</p> <p>Donnell said entrepreneurship is a broad and vague term that many narrowly define as applying only to those who are interested in starting their own company. For him, the term encompasses much more than that.</p> <p>“I want you to learn the basic concepts of business, because those, along with an entrepreneurial spirit, can differentiate you from your peers. The engineers that come out of this place—whether they’re mechanical, industrial, chemical, petroleum or other—they are tremendous engineers,” Donnell said. “Everybody knows they can do the work. If we can supplement their incredible engineering education with a little coloration around the entrepreneurial experience, that will benefit them during their careers."</p> <p>Donnell was asked in 2014 to develop and introduce curriculum on entrepreneurship with a plan to start the program in mechanical engineering, and if the program was well-received, it could be moved up to the college level. But there was some hesitancy at first.</p> <p>“[The thought was] ‘We’re mechanical engineering, we teach thermo, we teach fluids, we teach statics, we teach heat transfer… and what are you talking about, entrepreneurship?’” Donnell said. “It was a foreign matter. So Dr. (Andreas) Polycarpou and I developed the course at a technical level, injecting content so that it would qualify as a technical elective seen as being of more interest to the students.”</p> <p>Since then, Donnell said he has heard many students comment that the course has been among the most important they have taken at Texas A&amp;M. He attributes that less to the course content and more to the students being asked to challenge themselves with uncomfortable material, which they then can master and feel a sense of accomplishment.</p> <p>Donnell seeks to use the course to revise students’ current skills to use talents they didn’t realize they had. A major part of the program is a team project, where students generate their own product idea and develop a detailed business plan, including five-year financial projections. The proposals are then presented to a panel of industry judges at the end of the semester in the setting of a private equity pitch.</p> <p>“It develops and refines skills for them that they didn’t know they had, presentation skills,” Donnell said. “There’s not a student that starts this class who thinks they’ve got a prayer of being successful, and the most important thing about the class is everyone walks away with an air of confidence, because they’ve worked extremely hard on something which is substantially outside their comfort zone and then they accomplish something they didn’t think they could do.”</p> <p>Donnell graduated in 1982 from Texas A&amp;M with his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and later from Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He started his career with Texaco and Natural Gas Clearinghouse, the predecessor to Dynegy, and went on to be the president and CEO of Duke Energy North America, Synenco Energy Inc., Poseidon Water LLC and RSH Energy, LLC.</p> <p>“Most of what I know about business was learned on the job. I’ve always had this sort of insatiable curiosity about how things work, not just technically, but how a company makes money,” Donnell said. “I’ve been blessed with a pretty eclectic professional experience, but with a heavy concentration in energy. I started out technical, but pretty quickly began the transition to a purer business leadership role.”</p> <p>Donnell also serves on a number of nonprofit boards and has served on the advisory boards of the Mays Business School and the Texas A&amp;M College of Engineering. In 2014, Donnell was appointed professor of engineering practice and named a William E. Dark ’54 Faculty Fellow.</p> <p>Starting in the spring of 2018, Dr. Cynthia Hipwell, who joined the mechanical engineering department in the fall of 2017, will join Donnell to teach MEEN 489 – Entrepreneurship in Nano and Energy Systems.</p> <p>Learn more about <a href="https://engineering.tamu.edu/programs/eep">Engineering Entrepreneurship</a> and <a href="https://engineering.tamu.edu/easa/areas/enrichment/professor-of-practice">Professors of Practice</a> at Texas A&amp;M. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/donnell-works-to-demystify-engineering-entrepreneurship http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2017/12/06/donnell-works-to-demystify-engineering-entrepreneurship Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:00:00 CST