University of Massachusetts Amherst

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A Smashing Success

On December 11, MIE students in Professor David McLaughlin’s Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course gathered in a large circle in the Student Union Ballroom, laughing, shouting, and cheering as dozens of their scale-model smart cars darted across the floor in an exercise of vehicle avoidance. The occasion was the class’s annual end-of-the-semester Smart Car Extravaganza. Now in its third year, the demonstration is the culmination of a semester-long assignment to build model cars using Arduino processors, motors, transistors, gears, and various sensors to monitor and control the vehicle movement. McLaughlin notes, “Our mechanical and industrial engineering students work in teams to build electronic cars, while they simultaneously learn the fundamentals of electrical engineering. It has been a very successful experience that seems to produce educational impacts beyond the semester.”

See more pictures and read our UMass Amherst Gateway feature story