49er Engineers Recognized at Air Force Design Challenge

Date Published: 
July 5, 2017

Participating in the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s 2017 University Design Challenge, a team of UNC Charlotte engineering students received honorable mention for its ‘navigation intent and size/form factor’ work. The purposed of the competition was to help the Air Force solve a critical problem for the nation’s military and Special Operations community.

“Each team was impressive in its own right and displayed great creativity and ingenuity that fascinated both the judges and the operators,” said Mike Lazalier, senior manager of the Turbine Test Facility Planning AEDC/XPR Capabilities Integration Branch. “The panel of judges and operators had a great time seeing the innovative solutions and interacting with the students.”

Base on all metrics and scoring criteria, analyzing the teams' engineering reports and presentations, and revisiting performance results from the demonstration, the judges selected the University of Minnesota Duluth as the winner of the 2017 AFRL University Design Challenge. Honorable mentions went to Michigan Tech (collapsibility/portability and weight), UNC Charlotte (navigation intent and size/form factor), and Auburn U (simplicity and cargo modularity). 

The object of the competition was to invent a resupply device, manually or autonomously operated, controlled, or programmed to haul items on rough and unimproved surfaces. The devices were design to be used by Special Forces during missions where operators typically carry 100+ pounds of gear. During such missions, operators require resupply of mission gear and equipment, as well as, movement of heavy items such as patients, K9s, food, water, ammunition, and other large, bulky items.