EE/SE/CE Capstone: Rail Rider

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By Mattysen Short, Correspondent

Electrical, Software , and Computer Engineering Capstone team Rail Rider is working on building a product that will help identify problems along railroads across the country. “RailRider is an autonomous railborne drone that attempts to solve track inspection and rail crossing checks,” says team lead CJ Long.

“For this semester, due to time and budget constraints, we are simply building a model in G scale of the finished product” says Long. “We wish to in future attempts to get some support from railways or locomotive manufacturers.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created difficulties for almost all capstone teams, affecting the ability for teams to meet in person and get parts for their projects. “The worldwide pandemic has affected supply lines, and we are no exception,” Long explains. “Parts had to be redesigned when it turned out that parts were not available.”

Long believes that the team’s biggest challenge over the last year “has been meeting under the circumstances, since rooms are not always available.” This is a sentiment that’s shared by many capstone teams. Due to the pandemic, scheduling rooms has been incredibly tough due to social distancing guidelines. During an average year, two to three full teams could be in a classroom working on their projects at the same time. This year, however, one to two partial teams may be the maximum capacity in the same classrooms.

“We have managed to build the system as modular as possible, allowing future teams an easier time taking over the project,” says Long, calling that the biggest success of the team so far. 

Rail Rider is on track to accomplish their goals by the end of the year according to Long. As of right now, Long says that the team is “currently working on some minor issues.” 

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