July 20, 2018

SHU receives engineering program grant

Sacred Heart engineering students explore the need for speed.

Sacred Heart University has received a $25,000 grant from Sikorsky Aircraft for development of the engineering program the Fairfield university launched last fall. The grant will help fund materials and parts for designing autonomous vehicles — such as microcontrollers, sensors and electronics — to be used in introductory engineering courses offered to freshmen.

In these courses, students will learn fundamentals of programming, controls and design. They also will build drones and cars that accomplish specific tasks, including obstacle avoidance, Bluetooth and wi-fi navigation, terrain-based challenges and drone flight.

"With the funds provided, every single freshman engineering student will be able to build and program two autonomous vehicles — a drone and a miniature car — and test these vehicles on custom-built indoor and outdoor obstacle courses," said Tolga Kaya, SHU's director of engineering programs.

This hands-on approach is intended to build confidence and skills students need to succeed in higher-level engineering courses and also will lay the foundation for the SHU's electrical engineering program that is expected to launch in 2019.

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