By: Wesley Stine
Prelim with Dr. Benavides, AE 427
Under the direction of Dr. Benavides, the 13 students of team OURANOS are working on a project called APOPHIS that will combine aerial and ground propulsion in a new autonomous vehicle.
Team leader Estelle Fortes explained the concept: “it will transport a five-kilogram payload to a more than 50 meters, using more than one form of propulsion.
This will give APOPHIS the ability to drive on the ground like a car and fly through the air like a quadcopter.”
Asked about the origin of the project, Fortes recounted how, during the first week of the semester, the class split into seven groups, each responsible for pitching an original project idea. “From these seven ideas,” she said, “three projects were created by Dr. Benavides.
Our project was the result of a combination of a “lighter-than-air” payload delivery system and an attitude determination and control platform.”
While early design ideas involved a balloon or blimp, the heavier-than-air quadrocopter model eventually won out.
This was because it could be combined with powered wheels to create a vehicle with two independent forms of propulsion, satisfying a key requirement.
Fortes described her team’s biggest difficulty as “Presentations,” explaining that “designing is often not as difficult as communicating your ideas in an organized and interesting way.”