The Sea Rescue Team

The Sea Rescue Team

What are we doing?

Our Goal is to create a drone that would help to decrease response times for emergency personnel in remote water front areas such as the Fire Rescue services on Carova Island, NC. In places like this, there are few to no paved roads and it can take precious minutes to save a person from drowning  or to determine if a drifting vessel has a crew in need of assistance. By using a drone to remotely view the situation and potentially drop off living saving supplies, the crews at the remote sites could reduce their response times and in doing so save lives.


Joe Cloonan – Mechanical Engineering and Fabrication


I joined this course not knowing what to expect, and in doing so have discovered a new avenue of interests. During this project, I have gravitated towards creating pieces and parts. I have managed to learn how to make molds and cast aluminum parts, though as of yet not with much success. I have also learned the basics with 3D printing and began researching how to use CNC machines. I have been lucky to work with a team that has a great deal of technical knowledge regarding drone development, operations, and programming. This has allowed me to learn more about drones then I ever would have otherwise. Our group is fairly good about collaborating and using the strengths of each member to complete our tasks.

Justin Massie – Electrical and Biomedical Engineeringdrone-pic

Before I began this project I was under the impression that we would be supplied with the parts of a drone and be required to assemble it, as well as perform various tests. In actuality, we were given funds to purchase and build a drone from scratch and are working with a fire department to solve a real issue in the world. Throughout this project I’ve learned that everyone working in a team must put forth the effort to take a design from idea to implementation, as it is a lot of work and we are all depending on each other. When collaborating with other engineering disciplines you have to be willing to explain your areas of expertise to those in your team who are not as familiar and be willing to learn from those who are experienced in areas you are not familiar with in order to have a complete understanding of your design. As we quickly approach our deadline to deliver our drone, I think our team really needs to step up to the plate and put a lot of overtime in. We are all skilled in our own particular crafts and we each need to put those skills to work. Also, as I previously mentioned, we all need to learn from each other and learn to appreciate what each person has to offer in terms of their particular disciplines. Some of us currently work as engineers and engineering interns, but those who don’t will be moving on to work for companies where collaboration is absolutely crucial in order to develop and deliver a safe and well made product.

Joseph Sayre – Mechanical Engineering

img_4444-1I decided to sign up for this class at the beginning of the semester thinking it would be a fun class and being that I enjoy flying quad-copters, it would be a win win situation for me. After completing more than half of the semester, I see that the class is fun and interesting but at the same time, much more work than I had originally thought. It was very interesting to me how the class was constructed and executed being that there were three different universities meeting every week. As a team, we were given free range to build the drone to the extent of making sure that the drone met the needs of what our customer wanted. I feel that not having a template to follow gave us more responsibility to come up with a prototype that would meet the needs but also not go overboard. This led to brainstorming ideas throughout the team and having to do much research on the components before we bought them for our drone. I feel that we have a great design that our customer will enjoy and easily be able to fly. The next step in our project is getting all of the parts so we can start assembly and meet the deadline.

Michael Ross – Mechanical Engineering

campingLast semester I participated in a course where we build quad-copters from kits and used them to compete against other teams in various challenges. I elected to take that course because it sounded fun, and I though would be beneficial to my senior design project that also involved quad-copters. I had a lot of fun in that class, and learned that there was another one that involved practical applications to world problems using quad-copters, and found myself in this class. Throughout this semester I’ve found that these projects, specifically the sea rescue project, requires more time and effort than I had originally anticipated. The group seems to have a great dynamic, but I find myself needing to put in more effort. I look forward to helping the Carova Beach fire department in designing a functional prototype for their rescue needs at sea.

Douglas Ford – EE and CpE

profileI am an Old Dominion University senior, double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. As I understand it, the purpose of this class is to simulate a company that builds and brings to market a product that is both useful and in high demand. If a visitor looks at the various project topics they will see that each project is humanitarian in nature. Most of them are extensive and are not expected to be finished in just one semester. The group I am assigned to is working with the Corova, North Carolina Fire Department to design a  Drone that can be utilized to inspect abandoned vessels and drop Life Preservers to swimmers caught in “RIP” currents. We had our first meeting with the Fire Department representative on October 25 and he gave us the requirements for the Drone we are to build. Two days later we had a group meeting and put together a Bill of Materials for what we suspect will be sufficient to satisfy the requirements for the Sea Rescue Drone. From there we got approval and suggestions from the professor and the order was made. Building a task oriented Drone is actually a large task to complete in such a short time span as the semester is over in about three weeks. When the parts arrive we will probably have a pizza party or something and build it, then we will have just a few days of testing, at most,  before we show it to our customer and then he will either say he likes it or send us back to the drawing board, which are both equally as likely to happen.  I wanted to add a few more lights and flashy things to make the device stand out, but time unfortunately has done what it does. This class is the third interdisciplinary team I have participated on and I have had different degrees of success in these types of teams. I had no idea this class would be this way, but working in teams is usually very educational.  We shall see if the parts arrive before Thanksgiving or not.

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