CS/EE/ME 75, 2006-07

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CS/EE/ME 75 Schedule Projects DGC Wiki Team Caltech


Teaching Assistants

  • Noel duToit
  • Dominic Rizzo
  • Pete Trautman
  • Nok Wongpiromsarn



Course Syllabus

Course Description


CS/EE/ME 75 presents the fundamentals of modern multi-disciplinary systems engineering in the context of a substantial design project. Students from a variety of disciplines will conceive, design, implement, and operate a system involving electrical, information, and mechanical engineering components. Specific tools will be provided for setting project goals and objectives, managing interfaces between component subsystems, working in design teams, and tracking progress against tasks. Students will be expected to apply knowledge from other courses at Caltech in designing and implementing specific subsystems. During the first two terms of the course, students will attend project meetings and learn some basic tools for project design, while taking courses in CS, EE, and ME that are related to the course project. During the third term, the entire team will build, document, and demonstrate the course design project, which will differ from year to year.

The third term of the course may be used to satisfy specific graduation requirements in the CS, EE, and ME options and may be taken for up to 18 units of total credit, with permission of the instructors. Freshman must receive permission from the instructor to enroll.

Course structure

CS/EE/ME 75 is designed to be integrated with the curriculum in the individual engineering disciplines. This is accomplished by linking the activities in the first two terms with regular classes in CS, EE and ME. These courses are used to design subsystems for the overall project, with the system integration occuring in the third term and the final implementation and operation occuring over the summer.

Cem75 structure.gif
Fall Courses
Winter Courses
  • CDS 110 - Control Systems
  • CS 11 - Multi-Threaded Programming
  • ME/CS 131 - Path Planning
  • Independent project courses


In the first two terms, the course grade will be equally weighted between course homework sets (one each for the first three weeks), course participation in project and team meetings, and the final project presentation. For the third term, the course grade will be based on the following factors:

  • Homework (20%): Homework sets will be handed out weekly for the first four weeks of the class. Most sets will consist of some work that is done by the student's team, as well as a (short) individual portion
  • Team presentations (20%): Each team will be required to make a presentation to the class summarizing their design studies.
  • Project documentation (40%): All work performed as part of the class should be documented in an appropriate format (to be decided by the teams). Each individual will turn in the documentation for the items they are responsible by the end of the term.
  • Participation (20%): Students are expected to attend project and team meetings and to participate in a constructive manner toward the over goals of the team. Team coordinators and instructors will provide assessments for each student based on the level and quality of participation in project activities.

2006-07 Project

This year's project is the development of an autonomous vehicle capable of participating in the 2007 Urban Challenge, scheduled for 3 November 2007. The Urban Challenge is an autonomous vehicle competition involving up to 60 miles of autonomous driving in urban-like environments, including moving traffic, intersections, parking lots and traffic circles. The vehicle that completes the route in the shortest time under 6 hours wins the $2M grand prize.

For 2007, students in CS/EE/ME 75 will design, build, and document an autonomous vehicle capable of winning the urban challenge. The vehicle must be capable of operating in dynamic environments for 6 hours, at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. This will require a level of sophistication in planning algorithms, sensor fusion and driving software substantially beyond current capabilities for autonomous vehicles.

First term

The course activities in the first term are designed to get students up to speed on the processes that will be used in the project. Students will generally fall into one of the three following groups, which will all have slightly different approaches to the course:

  • No prior DGC experience, taking linked course - This is the nominal track for students in the course. In addition to CS/EE/ME 75, you should be taking one of the "linked courses" (listed above), where you will do a project aimed at the grand challenge. Students pursuing this option will be expected to bring their projects to TRL 4 (prototype implementation) or higher in the first term, using the tools from CS/EE/ME 75.
  • No prior DGC experience, not taking linked course - If you are not taking one of the courses that is linked to CS/EE/ME 75, you can still participate in the class by taking on a smaller course project. These projects should be advanced to TRL 4 (prototyle implementation) or higher in the first term, using the tools from CS/EE/ME 75.
  • Prior DGC experience - If you have had prior experience in the DGC, for example through the 2006 Autonomous Vehicles SURF, you can use that work as the basis for your project. In this case, you are probably already at TRL 5 and the goal is to get the project to TRL 7 (baselined code). Students pursuing this option will generally have to take a project course (eg, CDS 190 or equivalent) in order to account for the time required to implement their project.

Second term

In the second term, students with no prior DGC experience will focus on bringing their projects to TRL 7 (baselined code). This may be done in conjunction with other courses, if applicable.

Students with prior DGC experience can either continue their projects, working toward TRL 8 (integrated module) and adding new features or start a new project (either through a class project, an independent project class or CS/EE/ME 75 credit).

Third term

All students taking CS/EE/ME 75c will work in small teams to implement technology on Alice and bring it to GC:TRL 8 (integrated module).

Old Announcements

  • 24 Sep 06: Lectures for CS/EE/ME 75 will be held on Mondays from 12-1 pm in 102 Steele.
  • 14 Sep 06: The organizational meeting for CS/EE/ME 75 will be on 25 Sep (Mon) at 4:30 pm in 102 Steele (notes)