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Senior Design 05-06: Team 5

The Team

The design and development of the ATTACH system has been taken up by a group of four senior engineering students from Calvin College. The team consists of one mechanical and three electrical engineers. This combination of two different fields of engineering caters to the various aspects involved in the design and development of such a system. This team is unique since three different nations, India, Nigeria and the United States of America, are represented by the members.

The team members and their fields of engineering are, from left to right, Daniel Ateru (Electrical Engineer), Sumanth K. Sampath (Electrical Engineer), Ub Essien (Electrical Engineer), and Clarence Medema (Mechanical Engineer).

The Project

ATTACH is an acronym that stands for Assisted Trailer Tracking And Complete Hitching. As the name suggests, the project objective is to design a system that guides the driver of a vehicle to back up the automobile in order to precisely align the hitching system of the automobile with that of the trailer. This system would remove the guess work involved in backing up a vehicle onto a trailer hitching system. Thus, expediting the whole process.

The system also has other features, which will help not only in expediting the process of hitching, but also in making it safe. These features are incorporated into the system to provide the driver with a peace of mind and to make the task of backing up as easy as possible.

The ATTACH System

The ATTACH system is an all-in-one package, that offers a complete guidance and navigation, and automatic hitching system. The system contains the following items in the package:

      1. One IR LED/ IR Laser Diode emitter package
      2. An array of Near IR Photodiodes
      3. A broad beam Ultrasonic Transducer
      4. An easy-to-read LED display system

The ATTACH system offers several features that enable the driver to hitch a trailer onto the automobile in a single attempt. Some of the features offered by this system are:

    • The system accurately tracks the position of the trailer in real-time and constantly updates and guides the driver as which direction the automobile should move via the display.
    • The system accurately measures the remaining distance between the two vehicles and informs the driver through the display.
    • Warns the driver if any obstacle lies in the path between the automobile and the trailer.

System Block Diagram

Mode of Operation

  1. Optical source emits light of specific wavelength which is sensed by photodiodes.
  2. Photodiode produces voltage proportional to incident light.
  3. Signal is conditioned and used to drive display.
  4. Navigational aid and distance measurement from hitch is provided on display.

Design Features

  • The system accurately tracks the position of the trailer in real-time and constantly updates and guides the driver as which direction the automobile should move via the display.
  • The system provides a display of the remaining distance between the two vehicles.
  • Warns the driver if any obstacle lies in the path between the automobile and the trailer.

Packaging

Source Module - IR LED/ IR Laser Diode emitter.

Reciever Module - An array of Near IR Photodiodes.

Display Module - User friendly LED display.

For more information regarding the project please refer to our PPFS (Project Proposal and Feasibility Study) or our Final Report