Publication Date

Fall 12-13-2019

Document Type

Final Report

Embargo Date


Problem Statement

This project is a dicycle designed for the ARLISS Canister Competition. In this competition, the device is loaded into a rocket which is then launched to about 12000 ft before releasing the device. Then it must safely land and autonomously navigate to a predetermined GPS location on the ground. Due to the fact that this is a mechanical engineering design project and the time restrictions of this class, we focused on the physical aspect of the project, such as building a device that can survive the launch and landing and traverse several kilometers through the desert, forgoing the autonomous navigation and control aspect. We began the design process by interviewing our client, Dr. Potter, and analyzing the user needs he gave us. We then came up with a variety of potential designs for the device, and weighed the pros and cons of each concept, selecting the best possible option. Three prototype performance goals were developed: the prototype can travel a certain distance with various terrain, the prototype can resist impact in a drop test, and the prototype can release the parachute and drive away following the drop. We then went through several iterations of the design, considering engineering models and running a series of tests designed to ensure that the device can fall from the rocket and navigate through desert terrain. These tests included surviving a drop of at least three stories, being able to release the parachute, and then drive away without us needing to modify anything on the device. Tests also examined the ability of our device to traverse gravel and sand over several kilometers on a single battery charge. Our final design succeeded in all three performance goals.

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)