Skip to Main Content

Innovation Day Showcases UNF’s Finest Engineering Students

Innovation Day at UNF is an annual event for UNF engineering students and the local engineering community to network. Each year, seniors in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering present their final capstone design projects. This year’s Innovation Day, held on April 21 at the Adam W. Herbert University Center, featured 30 presentations for 26 different organizations.
Engineering students are assigned to work in teams on various projects proposed by local businesses and organizations to develop solutions for business operations. The teams are formed in the fall semester by department leaders based on each student’s top choices from a list of projects and compatibility determined by participation in the Myers-Briggs personality assessment.
Among the local businesses that partnered with the UNF School of Engineering this year is Apellix, a Jacksonville-based engineering company that has developed software-controlled aerial robotic systems (drones) that perform building maintenance tasks autonomously such as painting and cleaning. The Apellix senior design group, consisting of six senior mechanical and electrical engineering students, was tasked by Apellix to improve how a robotics system collects data to navigate within a large unknown environment.
Apellix Senior Design Project Group at Innovation Day (l to r: Zachary Taylor, Ryan Crump, Levi Nowicki, Sree Vellanki, Benjamin Dobrow, Austin Daniels)The Apellix senior design group’s project, titled Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) for a Semi-Autonomous Drone, was completed using a Robot Operating System (ROS) and an Electric Test Vehicle (ETV). SLAM is defined as a method for creating a map of a previously unknown environment while also tracking an object’s location.
Through partnering with the School of Engineering, Apellix hopes to one day use drone-mounted sensors that conduct SLAM while a drone is in operation instead of the ground-based system they currently use, which is less effective in collecting accurate readings when a drone must travel behind a structure.
While there is still a considerable amount of research needed for this emerging technology, Apellix founder/CEO Robert Dahlstroum and engineer Jeremy Countryman expressed their satisfaction with the findings of the research project and their gratitude toward the senior design team.
“This team coming together and learning everything they did to push this technology forward is very critical and important to our business,” Countryman said.
The senior design team also appreciated the opportunity, as it not only allowed them to apply the knowledge they’ve learned from their studies, but taught them a lot about robotics — a field many of them had little experience with before this project.
Team member Austin Daniels spoke of the team’s journey through this process. “This experience was an eye-opener into robotics and where robotics fits into the world,” Daniels said.
The Apellix Senior Design Team included:
Mechanical Engineering Students: Austin Daniels, Benjamin Dobrow, Sree Vellanki
Electrical Engineering Students: Ryan Crump, Levi Nowicki, Zachary Taylor