This paper deals with the complete design and implementation of a small unmanned air vehicle (UAV) in the framework of a project course for engineers. This project takes place within an international contest organised by the french defence and aerospace agency. The objective is to design an autonomous air vehicle that will be able to be operated by soldiers on the battlefield, with embedded sensors and camera, which will be able to explore an urban environment, and detect targets or threads such as snipers. Our team won the first edition of the contest two year ago and is again selected with eleven other teams to take part in the new challenge next year. Our way of running this project is quite unusual on the education point of view for several reasons. In the challenging scientific area of aerospace engineering, an entire vehicle (mechanical parts as well as electronic parts) is designed, manufactured, tested and operated by students, thus involving a lot of students of different background. For instance, mechatronics students are coordinating the project, helped by students in mechanical engineering, fluid mechanics, composite structures, manufacturing, topography, physics and electronics. The main challenge is to coordinate large groups of students of different faculties and different levels, as there are more than 40 students working on the same project at the same time. The group of students studying mechatronics is currently working on this project since September 2006 and will go on until they graduate in june 2009. The aerodynamics structure is an elliptic wing within a 70 cm diameter sphere. The UAV should take of and land vertically and then fly horizontally. This challenging transition between vertical and horizontal flight is currently under study and has been carried out successfully by another team operating a more classical airplane. Moreover, the project organisation and design process is currently analysed and deals as a case study for researchers in the area of engineering design. This is also interesting as it is generally not possible to analyse the entire design process in an industrial environment. The technical aspects of the project as well as the project organisation, collaborative design tools and project management tools will be presented. The success and failures of the project organisation will be explained and the analysis from problem base learning point of view commented.

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