Retrieval and Delivery System (RDS)

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RFP*: Retrieval and Delivery System (RDS)

* RFP is an acronym for Request For Proposal. Internationally, RFPs are called ITTs, an acronym for Invitation To Tender. Governmental agencies use RFPs to solicit new business.

This project reflects real life scenarios; the robot must be able to handle minor imperfections in the course.

Note: You should only use the materials contained in the price list for LEGO parts for robot projects. If you want to use other parts, get permission from your faculty member to do so, and also to determine the cost of the parts you want to use that are not in this price list.

Introduction and Overview

A blackout has occurred in the Northeast United States. In the city of New York, three hospitals have used up their backup power supplies due to the unanticipated duration of the blackout. There are some power supply areas in the city with fuel cells that supply enough power for the hospitals' need. In order to save lives, Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued an RFP for a robot that can retrieve and deliver fuel cells accumulating a minimum of 200 hours of reserve energy.

Figure 1: New York City navigation field view 1.
Figure 2: New York City navigation field view 2.

Specifications

Design a robot using Lego Digital Designer as your primary design tool. Your team must build a model of your design using the materials provided. A Mindstorms program that will direct the robot's movements must be created. A cost estimate of the robot's components must be provided. All revisions to the original design must be recorded and explained. This includes technical design drawings, as well as cost estimates. All revisions to the Mindstorms program must be recorded and explained.

The RDS must be able to navigate autonomously around the city, retrieve fuel cells, and deliver them to the hospitals. Note that these hospital positions may change each semester. The robot must accumulate a total of 200 hours of reserve energy in less than five minutes. The robot's footprint (length and width) may not exceed 12 in × 12 in.

The robot program may not be altered or switched during any part of the mission. Likewise, the robot must be fully autonomous, and therefore cannot be touched by any person during testing. These specifications must be met for final Commissioning. Please refer to the course syllabus for all due dates.

Course Layout

Note: The pictures below contain one representation of this project description. The actual course may be different from the one pictured below, but similar in objective.

Your robot starts on a tile similar to the one in Figure 3. The back of the robot must be facing the side of the tile that is on the outside border of the course:

Figure 3: Starting tile.

Each power supply area has fuel cells that supply different amounts of hours.

Figure 4: Example of a fuel cell.

For example, power supply areas located in the middle of a tile have fuel cells that can supply 25 hours of battery life, as observed in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Location of 25-hour fuel cell on tile.

Power supply areas located on the edges of a tile have fuel cells that can supply 30 hours of battery life, as observed in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Location of 30-hour fuel cell on tile.

Power supply areas located at the corners of a tile have fuel cells that can supply 35 hours of battery life, as observed in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Location of 35-hour fuel cell on tile.

Each hospital has different efficiencies of energy consumption.

Figure 8: Example of a hospital.

The colors of the sides of each hospital show the power efficiency of the hospital. Billy's Hospital, color-coded in red, uses the energy three times as efficiently as the standard hospital, thereby extending the battery life of a fuel cell to three times its standard battery life.

Figure 9: Billy's Hospital (3× efficiency).

Jamie's Hospital, color-coded in blue, uses the energy twice as efficiently as the standard hospital, thereby extending the battery life of a fuel cell to twice its standard battery life.

Figure 10: Jamie's Hospital (2× efficiency).

Luke's Hospital, color-coded in yellow, represents the standard hospital, and therefore fuel cells used at this hospital will retain its standard battery life.

Figure 11: Luke's Hospital (1× efficiency).

Hour Totals

By successfully returning the retrieved fuel cells to one of the hospitals, the fuel cell's battery life is multiplied by the hospital's efficiency. For example, if the robot retrieved a 25-hour fuel cell and successfully placed it in Billy's Hospital, the robot would successfully receive 75 hours for that fuel cell (25 × 3 = 75). Luke's Hospital is assigned an efficiency of 1, Jamie's Hospital is assigned an efficiency of 2, and Billy's hospital is assigned an efficiency of 3.

Microsoft Project

You must create a schedule to manage your time in Microsoft Project. You can learn Microsoft Project by doing the MS Project Skill Builder. This schedule must include all tasks related to the project from the start of the project to Submission. The Microsoft Project schedule should include the following:

  • Minimum of 20 tasks
  • Milestones should be clearly indicated on the project plan (duration of zero days)
  • Each task must include the person responsible for completing the task (resource names)
  • Use the "Copy Picture" function to include the project plan in the presentations. Do not take a screenshot
  • Gantt chart must be displayed alongside the tasks list (fit onto one slide)
  • Gantt chart must clearly show a progress line
  • Clearly state during the presentation whether the project is on-time, behind schedule, or ahead of schedule

For help in planning the project, review the manual page Planning Project Scheduling & Costs.

Drawings

All drawings and sketches should be made using LEGO Digital Designer (LDD). LDD can be installed for free from the LEGO website.

Using LDD, create four drawings of the robot: front, top, most detailed side, and a drawing of the gear train(s). Sensors, motors, and gears must be included in each drawing. If the robot does not use any gears, make sure to explicitly state that in your presentations.

Each revision of the design must be documented and all changes must be presented during Milestone presentations.

Figure 12: Sample isometric drawing from LEGO Digital Designer.

Model

You must build a scale model (1:1) of your design. The following materials will be provided:

  1. Mindstorms kit
  2. One EV3 brick
  3. Sensors
  4. Motors

The finished RDS must not exceed a footprint of 12 in × 12 in. There is no height limitation. Additional materials can be supplied by your TA.

Cost Estimate

Once a robot design is complete, a cost estimate must be generated that specifies the cost of all the materials and labor required for the construction of the design. Tabulate this cost information clearly in an Excel spreadsheet, using the materials cost list provided. Help in calculating the cost is available by reviewing how to plan the schedule and calculate costs for a project. The costs for the parts can be found on the price list for LEGO parts for robot projects.

Note: You should only use the materials contained in the price list for LEGO parts for robot projects. If you want to use other parts, get permission from your faculty member to do so, and also to determine the cost of the parts you want to use that are not in this price list.

The cost estimate should include the following:

  • Labor cost breakdown with hours and rates
  • Consolidate low-cost pieces: axles, beams, bricks, bushings, connectors, gears, plates
  • Itemize high-cost pieces: controllers (EV3 brick), sensors, motors
  • No decimal places; this is an estimate after all. Round appropriately
  • Total cost must be shown in the bottom right corner

Notebook/Project Journal

While working on your project, you are expected to keep a record of all work done, as well as future plans and goals. In order to complete a Benchmark assessment, you must submit your notebook in .pdf format to the EG1003 website, as well as show your notebook to the Open Lab TA completing your assessment. A guide to writing the notebook, as well as a basic overview of its expectations, can be found here.

Extra Credit

For each additional fuel cell collected after achieving the 200-hour goal needed for Commissioning, your team will receive extra credit. For example, if your team delivers two 35-hour fuel cells to Billy's Hospital, you would receive four points of extra credit (two points per additional fuel cell) to your final SLDP grade. You can also receive extra credit for completing Benchmark A, Benchmark B, or Submission early, or completing your respective SLDP's 3D printing extra credit task as described in the 3D Printing Guide. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for exact point values. Creativity and innovation are always rewarded. Original designs will receive extra credit.

Milestones, Benchmarks, and Deliverables

As you work on your project, you will be required to present periodic reports on your progress. We call these Milestones. All the items assigned in each Milestone are called deliverables. These deliverables often consist of a combination of written submissions, presentations, and demonstrations.

Design & Feasibility Report

The Design and Feasibility Report (DFR) is extremely important, as it lays the groundwork for your project. You will be outlining your project idea, inspiration, and goals.

The DFR must include:

  • Cover Page
  • Project Overview
  • Goals & Objectives
  • Design & Approach
  • Cost Estimate
  • Project Schedule
  • Relevant Pictures

An example DFR template can be found here. The DFR is due by Benchmark A. Do not forget to include the items listed above. Use this link to access the HIR DFR Rubric.

Milestone 1

See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation.

Milestone 1 Deliverables:

  • Presentation:
    • Project description
    • Design approach
    • Mission statement
    • Preliminary CAD drawing of robot
    • Cost estimate
    • Microsoft Project schedule
    • Progress update: current state of the project

Look Ahead: What tasks are planned between now and Milestone 2?

Benchmark Assessment A

Benchmark assessments evaluate the progress of your project. Benchmark Assessment A is due at the end of Model Shop Session II. There are penalties for not completing this on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

To pass Benchmark A, your design must complete all of the following:

  • Deliver at least 50 hours of reserve energy to local hospitals.
  • Submission of Logo Design (or extra credit print full filing the mandatory logo print) in the 3D Printing Submission Portal

Milestone 2

See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation.

Milestone 2 Deliverables:

  • Presentation:
    • Project description
    • Design approach
    • Design changes since Milestone 1
    • Mission statement
    • CAD drawings: top, front, most detailed side, isometric, gear train
    • Mindstorms program
    • Updated cost estimate (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • Updated Microsoft Project schedule (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • Progress update: current state of the project (time, budget, etc.)

Look Ahead: What tasks are planned between now and Milestone 3?

Benchmark Assessment B

Benchmark Assessment B is due at the end of Model Shop Session III. There are penalties for not completing this on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

To pass, the design must complete all of the following:

  • Deliver at least 125 hours of reserve energy to local hospitals.
  • Approval of Logo Design (or extra credit print fulfilling the mandatory logo print) by Protolab TA

Milestone 3

See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation.

Milestone 3 Deliverables:

  • Presentation:
    • Project description
    • Design approach
    • Design changes since Milestone 2
    • Mission statement
    • CAD drawings: top, front, most detailed side, isometric, gear train
    • Mindstorms program
    • Updated cost estimate (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • Updated Microsoft Project schedule (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • Progress update: current state of the project (time, budget, etc.)

Look ahead: What tasks are planned between now and the completion of the project?

Commissioning

Refer to the syllabus for the Commissioning deadline. There are penalties for not completing this on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

To pass, the design must complete all of the following:

  • Deliver at least 200 hours of reserve energy to local hospitals.
  • Printed Logo (or extra credit print fulfilling mandatory print requirements)

Final Presentation

The Final Presentation will be a technical briefing, similar to the Milestones, but also serves as a sales presentation explaining why your company should be selected instead of the competition. Please include the following:

  • Problem statement
  • Solution overview
  • Company description and qualifications
  • Drawings
  • Mindstorms program
  • Cost estimate
  • Microsoft Project schedule
  • Video demonstration
  • Why should the company be awarded this contract?

Submission

All SLDPs must submit online. Please visit https://eg.poly.edu/finalSLDP.php for the link to the Project Submission form and each SLDP group's individualized login information. To submit, you must login to the EG1003 website using this special login information. Submitting with your NYU account or any other account will generate an error. You may resubmit at any time before the deadline. Please note that submission times are based on the most recent submission.

Please note the deliverables for this project are as follows. If any of the following items are omitted, you will be penalized. Be sure to click submit at the bottom of the form. The following list includes deliverable items that are expected from your group:

  • Submission deliverables:
    • Final presentation
    • Final Mindstorms program
    • Initial sketch
    • All the drawings of your design (initial through final)
    • Video
    • Final MS Project Schedule
    • Final cost estimate
    • Resume(s) (No fictitious resumes will be accepted.)

Early Submission

If you submit your project one academic week early, you are eligible for a bonus that will be added to your final semester-long project grade. You must submit all deliverables one academic week before the submission deadline (see syllabus for exact date). The deliverables received early are the ones you will use in your presentation. No adjustments to the deliverables submitted will be accepted.

Late Submission

Late Submission is not allowed. If you do not Commission or Partial Commission by the deadline set forth in the syllabus, you will not be allowed to submit and will receive a zero for the project grade. In order to receive Partial Commissioning, two TAs must analyze the project and determine its level of completeness in terms of Commissioning requirements. Please refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is our robot allowed to fire projectiles on this course?

A: Yes.

Q: If our robot is able to, can we open the one-way door from the other side?

A: Yes.

Q: Our robot completed the course with over 200 hours, do we get extra credit right away?

A: No. If your robot drops in the final needed fuel cell and your total hours go over 200, that does not mean that you will get extra credit for going over. To get extra credit, you must pick up and drop off extra fuel cells after already achieving 200 hours. And for the extra credit, you will receive extra points corresponding to how many fuel cells you are dropping in, not according to the usual position x multiplier calculation.

Q: We are not picking up every single fuel cell so before we start our run, may we move the ping pong balls that we are not going after out of the way?

A: No, every ping-pong ball must be on its respective holder at the beginning of each and every trial.