Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Design Requirements

One of your very important initial steps at this phase of the project is to develop your Design Requirements and your Design Specification documents. To give you an idea what these documents are and why they are important, I quote below from an email sent to me by one of the mentors for the project who has extensive industry experience with transportation projects about the process they follow:
To start with I am most interested in reviewing a document that discusses the design goals and objectives, a Design Requirements document.  This document should discuss what the design is to achieve in plain English and will be referred to during the entire design process.  The real world analog to this document would be the Planning and Design Criteria documents we produce and review during the early stages of a project.

The next level down would be the Design Specifications document(s).  This document, or set of documents, still in plain English will layout how to go about achieving the goals and objectives in the Design Requirements.  The real world analog to this set of document is the actual Contract or Proposal documents for a transportation system.

The next level down is the system level design documents.  These documents explain in plain English the desired functions of each subsystem, including how each subsystem is to interface with the other subsystems.  A subgroup of these documents is the Interface Definition documents which provide more specifics on the interfaces.

The next level down is the selection of hardware and software, by subsystem, to accomplish the system functions.

The next level down is the actual design of the hardware and software on a subsystem by subsystem basis.

The next set of documents is the testing criteria for each subsystem.  This set of documents contains detailed test procedure specifications on how to go about testing each of the functions of each subsystem to demonstrate that what was built meets with requirements.  This can be done in either one or two phases.

The development of each lower level set of documents must be performed by consulting the higher level document. 
 While your set of documentation will not be as extensive as what would be used on a full-blown industry project, I would like the subteams to follow the approach outlined above as far as it makes sense for your sub-projects. To give you a feel for what a professional Design Requirements document looks like, see my comment to blog post #2 and view Appendix A from the Aerospace Corporation report on the study of ATN from the Mineta Airport to the proposed BART terminus:
look at the Appendix from the Aerospace Corporation's report on the City of San Jose's study of ATN from the Mineta Airport to the planned BART terminus. Pp. 247- (A1-A124). The report can be found here:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Creating Team Blogs #3

Per our discussion in class on Wednesday the 23rd, your next assignment due by 5:30 pm on Monday, 9/21/2015 is to:
  1. Post to your personal blog an entry with a summary of the work you did since your last posting for Blog Assignment #2.
  2. Create a sub-team Blog (one per sub-team) with a name that is descriptive for your team (e.g., Superway-Failsafe) and add as a New Item a post that introduces the members of the sub-team and describes the scope of work and goals for the work of the sub-team. Blogspot allows multiple authors, so the first author will invite all other team members as authors with admin permission. This enables all authors to edit all blogs. Specifically, go to:

    [Team blog] > Settings > Basics > Permissions  > Blog Authors

  3. Put a link to a Gantt chart for your sub-team project schedule as a Page Link (unlike a blog, as a page, this chart can be updated regularly) at the top of your sub-team blog using the Dynamic Gantt chart template that Garrett found (click here).
  4. Add a second post in the sub-team blog that you created in step 2 above that consists of your proposal, which you came up with from Blog Assignment #2 and hopefully have refined since then.
  5. Upon completing this, please email your team blog's web link (URL) to Professor Furman and Ron Swenson. 
Thank you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Assertion-Evidence Style for Power Point Presentations

Soon you will be making your first presentation in ME 195A. One of the reasons to have you make presentations is to give you practice delivering effective technical talks. Most of you are familiar with how to do this, but there is a relatively new approach to configuring your slides called the Assertion-Evidence approach that we want you to use for all of your presentations in ME 195. To find out more about the A-E method, visit:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Team Formation and Blog Assignment #2

The following is a list of project topics and preliminary design requirements under consideration for the Sustainable Mobility System for Silicon Valley (a.k.a., Spartan Superway or SMSSV 4) for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Teams will organize during class on September 9, select a project, identify a team lead, then prepare a proposal for that project at a private PAGE on the team lead's blog, then publish that blog (without an external link) and email the private link to Professor Furman for review by the Spartan Superway Management Team by 5:30 PM, Monday, September 14, 2015.  (See example private page here.)

Proposals will include the following:
  • Team members, with brief listing of pertinent skills
  • Team member responsibilities within the team (who will do what)
  • Proposal narrative (verbal description of what is proposed to be accomplished, which includes design requirements and deliverables)
  • Sketches or drawings
  • Critical Path Schedule
  • Budget (preliminary estimate of the cash and VIK – Value-In-Kind – needed to deliver what is being proposed)
Each team member will also post on their individual blog by the same time, a sketch or drawing of their own making, with explanation, of something relevant to their project.

Thank you!

Bogie, suspension, guideway (in-plane load path and drive wheel)    
  • Bogie must be able to traverse up and down a guideway sloped at ±17° (30% grade) at TBD m/s
    • DELIVERABLE: Working model that demonstrates the concept       
Suspension: show sloped track to ground level, cabin integrated
  • Suspension must keep cabin level in spite of 'disturbances' (sloped track, acceleration of TBD m/s^2, etc.)
    • DELIVERABLE: Working model that demonstrates the concept
Propulsion at constant speed, regenerative braking, friction braking   
  • Bogie must start and stop smoothly (jerk of less than 1.8 m/s^3)
  • Bogie must move at a constant speed in spite of 'disturbances'
  • Bogie or propulsion system must use regenerative braking to recover energy
  • Bogie must incorporate friction braking in case propulsion motor 'free wheels'
    • DELIVERABLE: Working model that demonstrates the concept
    • DELIVERABLE: Measurements of speed variation at disturbances
    • DELIVERABLE: Measurements of regenerative efficiency 
Fail-safe mechanism   
  • Bogie cannot fall off the guideway despite failure of switching or main support wheels
    • DELIVERABLE: Working model that demonstrates the concept 
Electric wayside pickup (large scale, small scale)   
  • System power is obtained from stationary source in the guideway
    • DELIVERABLE: Working model that demonstrates the concept 
Apparatus for guideway thermal test
  • (Min) 3 m length, full-scale, 'full-strength' guideway elevated at TBD m
  • Full solar PV installation
  • Model must allow for 180° rotation in measurable increments
  • Model must allow measurement of local temperatures and deflections
    • DELIVERABLE: (Min) 3 m length, full-scale, 'full-strength' instrumented guideway test apparatus
Torsion test   
  • TBD-scale model of full strength guideway that fits in the CEE torsion tester (60 in. max length)
  • Instrumentation to measure deflection and strain
  • Finite element model of the test specimen
    • DELIVERABLE: Model of full strength guideway that fits in the CEE torsion tester
    • DELIVERABLE: Data from torsion test
    • DELIVERABLE: Correlation with and refinement of ANSYS finite element model
Small scale ATN model    
  • Expand the scale model to include a total of TBD stations and TBD vehicles
  • Use modular track sections of uniform dimensions to facilitate configuring a guideway network
  • Guideway configuration to be suggestive of an actual siting in San José or other locale in Silicon Valley
    • DELIVERABLE: Working model
  • Fully 'solarize' one or more of our model systems (fixed panel placement, inverters, etc.)
  • Devise mounting techniques that are modular, manufacturable, and facilitate rapid on-site installation
  • Develop a performance and cost analysis tool for planning actual deployment 
    • DELIVERABLE: Implement working system on models
  • You may submit a proposal for something other than those listed above if you can identify a project that is important for the project and matches your skill sets well.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Launch of Spartan Superway Blog!

Today marks the day when we have launched the process of having team members use blogs to document their work on the Spartan Superway Project. As the team size this year has expanded compared to previous years, we've been challenged with finding good ways to keep team members, team leads, instructors, mentors, and sponsors in communication and knowing what others are doing. This year we are going to have each team member keep a personal blog to describe his or her work on the project each week. We will aggregate links to these personal blogs to make it easier for the management team and mentors to follow the progress of the project.

So, if you are part of the Superway project, and you do not already have a blog at, then set one up as soon as possible. You can find the instructions to set up your blog here: