ENSE 622: Project Abstracts, Spring Semester, 2012

[ Project 1 ]: The Application of Systems Engineering Tools in the Management of Facility Resources Supporting a Large Army Research Organization
[ Project 2 ]: Sensor Network for a Smart City
[ Project 3 ]: Collaborative Requirements Engineering Project
[ Project 4 ]: System of Systems Modeling of a Basic Air-to-Ground Communication System of an Aircraft
[ Project 5 ]: Layered Platform Structure for Mobile Robotics
[ Project 6 ]: Satellite Collision Avoidance and Monitoring System (SCAMS)
[ Project 7 ]: Design of an Anthropomorphic Robot
[ Project 8 ]: Platform Based Design for a Reusable Small Spacecraft System
[ Project 9 ]: Dynamic Parking Assignment for Open Urban Areas
[ Project 10 ]: System for Maintenance of a Dryer Plant


Title: The Application of Systems Engineering Tools in the Management of Facility Resources Supporting a Large Army Research Organization
Authors: Ed Engbert

Abstract: The Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is a very large organization with the mission to research, develop and engineer weapon systems that will provide enhanced military capabilities for the military war fighter. While systems engineering is a discipline that is commonly used to understand and support the scientific research planning and development of weapon systems that will satisfy these capability gaps, a successful outcome is also dependent on the proper planning and operations of its mission support and organizational resources that include its people, purse (funding), and places (facility, equipment and IT Infrastructure).

The purpose of this project is to identify and analyze the system relationships between the war fighter's requirements with the RDECOM mission and its operation and management of its physical laboratories and other facilities supporting its research objectives. The application of system engineering tools as a means to model and analyze the interfaces of these relationships will be used. System requirements and the concept of a facility prioritization scheme with tradeoffs will be proposed and analyzed for planning and managing the sustainment and modernization activities of facilities throughout their lifecycle in a constrained fiscal and regulatory environment.


Title: Sensor Network for a Smart City
Authors: Anthony Miller and Francisco Marambio

Abstract: The smart cities of the future will need to gather real-time information from within its buildings and streets in order to function more efficiently. For example, to alleviate traffic, residents of these smart cities could access information to know which areas to avoid while the city and its crew perform maintenance. Modern buildings are already moving towards smart, safe and energy-efficient designs. Major cities already have a basic network of cameras that monitor the flow of traffic so that a crew can more efficiently time the city's traffic lights. The next step for the realization of a truly smart city is to be able to gather information not only from the streets but also from the surrounding environment that cause problems suddenly.

For our proposed project we will use Systems Engineering tools and processes to explore the different aspects of the design of a network of smart semi-mobile sensors that will relay all information gathered by the Smart City. These sensors will be able to gather highly localized data on weather, noise, water, and air pollution so that city policymakers and crews can take action to resolve the issues or at the very least inform the residents of emergencies and inconveniences.

Project Resources


Title: Collaborative Requirements Engineering
Authors: Binyam Abeye and Karam Rajab

Abstract: The current trend of the U.S. manufacturing industry is in sharp decline. Asian competitors, such as China, have far superior supply chain systems that are forcing U.S. companies to outsource manufacturing to these Asian countries. In order for the U.S. manufacturing industry to reverse the trend there needs to be improvements in the current manufacturing technology. The major problem with manufacturing is the lack of collaboration between different product vendors. Too often complex engineering products and systems bring together participants who each have their own methods of representing requirements and specifications. Currently, to resolve the differences in requirements representation, the requirements must be manually organized. This manual procedure is not only time consuming, but costly ($1 million/year) and error prone. While there are standards for collaborative specifications (ISO 15926), they are too complex for suppliers to implement.

This project will focus on developing the capability to communicate design requirements in collaborative systems design. The main systems that will be examined are those that support the manufacturing infrastructure, and will adopt the ability to trace decision making through the processes of design, manufacture, operation, and maintenance. The steps for the project will include developing a property-based form of product design requirements (develop and validate data sheet ontology), creating reference implementations (of the product data sheet ontology), building representative compliance methods and metrics (for using the product data sheet ontology, such as developing template and test suites), and testing the project for measuring productivity and identifying inefficiencies.

Manufacturing is crucial to the U.S. economic growth. By making advancement in manufacturing technology more U.S. companies will develop locally. Manufacturing creates the most wealth in other sectors and is a critical area to examine.

Project Resources


Title: System of Systems Modeling of a Basic Air-to-Ground Communication System of an Aircraft
Authors: An Jou Hsiung and Dalia Morales Mourad

Abstract: The aircraft communication system is an essential factor to ensure the safety of the passengers and the crew on board during the flight and allows not even the slightest of mistakes or miscommunication to risk the life. The system is usually extremely complex depending on the mission that the aircraft is designed for and it involves many components providing two major kinds of communication:

  1. Air-to-ground communication that is between the aircraft and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower; and
  2. Interphone and cabin communication that is between the cockpit and cabin crew during flight.

We will only be focusing on the air-to-ground communication due to the complexity and interest.

This project will concentrate on developing a model representation for the air-to-ground communication segment of the aircraft communication system using the basic VHF (Very High Frequency) and HF (High Frequency) methods. The model will describe the interfaces of a system of systems (SoS) interaction between the components of an aircraft and the ATC tower during a complete flight cycle, that includes taxi, take off, climb, cruise, descent, and landing.

Project Resources


Title: Layered Platform Structure for Mobile Robotics
Authors: Mark Jenkins

Abstract: Design a system that creates a layered platform structure for mobile robotics platforms using a golf cart as a mobility platform. Focus on a particular application (Neighborhood PatrolBot) in order to provide real-world requirements and constraints. Identify areas where agility is required in order to broaden future applications using the same system elements. Provide a description of the layered structure that includes the functions to be performed at each layer and the necessary interfaces to communicate between the layers.


Title: Satellite Collision Avoidance and Monitoring System (SCAMS)
Authors: Rohit Pillai and Kanwarpal Chandhok

Abstract: There is a great need for satellites in the low earth orbits. These satellites range from communications, weather studying, and earth monitoring. Satellites have instruments and sensors to monitor these conditions and carry out their tasks; however, the instruments on satellites are limited due to the size and weight limitations of cargo to be transported in space. This creates the need for having multiple satellites in formation flight in orbit. There are a few specific orbits that are preferable for earth monitoring and observations. Formation flight in orbit on multiple orbits has the risk, therefore, there is a need of a system that will analyze and avoid all collisions.

This project will concentrate on developing a system that will interface with specific satellites and analyze their flight in reference to each other. It will scan for possible collisions that may happen in the timeframe of 1 day to 7 weeks and come up with multiple collision avoidance alternatives. The output alternatives will then be analyzed by each of the respected missions based on their individual mission parameters. The missions will report back to our system with their preferred approach of mitigating the collision and our system will coordinate and evaluate all preferred avoidance approaches and select a final avoidance maneuver. This final maneuver will be sent out to the respective missions to be carried out.


Title: Design of an Anthropomorphic Robot
Author: Apurv Mittal

Abstract: For my system I consider an anthropomorphic robot. An anthropomorphic robot or a humanoid robot is a robot with its overall appearance, based on that of the human body, allowing interaction with made-for-human tools or environments. In general anthropomorphic robots have a torso with a head, two arms and two legs, although some forms may model only part of the body, for example, from the waist up. An anthropomorphic robot is a biomechatronic system. Biomechatronic systems integrate mechanisms, embedded control and human-machine interaction (HMI), sensors, actuators and energy supply in such a way that each of these components, and the whole mechatronic system, is inspired by biological models.

The robot's movements shall be controlled by a teleoperator (external control). This will enable the robot to perform human like movements and operations. The potential uses of such a system are in various fields such as robotic surgery, disaster-rescue operations, or remote location exploration such as the Moon or Mars. Various issues in the design shall be explored like robot mobility constraints, communication lag between external operator command and robot actuation, stability and robot dynamics.


Title: Platform-Based Design for a Reusable Small Spacecraft System
Authors: Jess Endicter and Pathik Shah

Abstract: Although satellites for earth and interplanetary missions have been occurring for nearly forty years, design, development and operation of these missions all occur independently of each other. The bus, payload, and ground system may be designed from scratch for each mission. In other words, to some extent, the process redesigns the wheel with each new mission. With the advent of a semi-permanent presence in space, via the ISS or the soon to be launched RESTOR mission, there now is the possibility to provide in-orbit servicing, potentially reducing launch costs and risks. The operational concept would be that the bus with all the propellant and payload would launch into orbit, execute its first mission, and then return to the ISS. When that first mission is over, the astronauts would be able to retrofit the craft with a new payload capable of a new mission, refuel the craft, and send it off on its way again.

This project shall investigate the possibility of using platform based design to develop a satellite bus, ground system, and elements of flight code that could be a near universal platform for a range of earth, LaGrange, moon, or inner solar system interplanetary missions. Ideally, the Satellite and ground system would have plug-and-play components which could be swapped out for each new mission. Although the author is under no illusions that this process would be used in the real world, this is an exercise to determine if thinking about satellite design in a different manner could reduce cost, risk, and time to develop these missions.


Title: Dynamic Parking Assignment for Open Urban Areas
Authors: Anagha Kohojkar and Akanksha Chauhan

Abstract: There is always an extensive need for finding a right open parking slot in urban areas. It is that 30 percent of urban traffic is caused by motorists looking for parking. The frustrations of wasted time, traffic congestion, road rage and pollution are all aggravated by the difficulty and randomness of finding an empty parking spot. Our proposed intelligent parking assignment system for urban areas tries to solve this problem by dynamically directing the user to an empty open parking slot and performing efficient parking management leading to reduced traffic congestion.

Our proposed parking assignment system would dynamically monitor and collect information regarding available street side and open parking spaces. This futuristic cyber-physical system would use the real time data about occupied/open/timed spaces through various wireless sensors to direct users to available parking spaces based on number of parking enquiries and available spaces. These sensors would reliably transmit street-level data regarding the status of parking slots and allowable time in real time to central transit parking monitoring system which would then be accessed by users.

It would be an information system designed specifically for urban open space parking management. The system would also dynamically manage incoming parking requests by directing users to different parking spaces to prevent clogging of a parking slot. It would also predict the future parking space availabilities based on parking time and historical parking pattern. Our system aims to provide the resiliency and reliability necessary for the uniquely demanding urban environment of city streets and parking woes. For our proposed project we will use Systems Engineering tools and processes to explore the different aspects of designing such a cyber-physical system.

Project Resources:


Title: System for Maintenance of a Dryer Plant
Author: Ketaki Harpale

Abstract: SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is used for monitoring, controlling and maintaining any Industrial process from a single screen. This is done by interfacing the remote terminal units to the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), which is further interfaced with the SCADA. Since these processes are usually hazardous and work in extreme environment, safety and reliability are prime concern.

The objective of this project is to create an add-on design to insitu systems, that will result in improved system safety and reliability. The project will revolve around the diagnosis of the components of a dryer plant. We note that in contrast to standard approaches to system automation (where input from human operators may not be required), the operation of dryer plants, even automated dryer plants, depend on input from human operators. Consequently, the goal of this project is to provide a module that enables improved diagnostics through the drill-down of system operations initiated by human queries. These procedures will check for anomalies in the sampling of three process variables: temperature, pressure and level. Any variation in these variables will enable the system to ``catch the error'' through the System Error Detection Module (SEDM). The major components of the system are the physical components of the dryer plant, PLC:RSLogix5000, SCADA:RSView32 and Emulator5000.

Last Modified: March 27, 2012.
Copyright © 2012, Institute for Systems Research, University of Maryland