Control engineering is a cornerstone of most undergraduate engineering programs in colleges and universities around the world. The analysis and synthesis of automatic controllers, in particular, the PID controller, is a central focus of these courses and modules. However, due to its highly abstract nature, students usually find the content challenging and difficult to comprehend. This is aggravated by the employment of traditional lecture/recitation deductive teaching formats as means of delivery of the content. Here, an inductive-based week long design activity strategically held in the middle of the semester was conceived to introduce and motivate the notion of feedback control. During the course of the week, students in teams design, analyze and synthesize automatic controllers to enable a standardized differential wheeled robotic platform to traverse a line circuit autonomously. The strategy to achieve this capability is intentionally left to be open-ended, and students have the design freedom to select and position sensors needed to sense the track, as well as implement and troubleshoot the programming required to enable autonomous control. The activity culminates with a pulsating head-to-head single elimination tournament to decide the overall champion.

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