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The University of Southampton

ELEC2223 Aerospace Electronics Design

Module Overview

This module will be first offered in the 2018/19 academic year. Laboratory exercises are provided to familiarise the students with particular components, which they may elect to use in the main part of the module, namely the group design exercise. The students will work in teams to design, build and test an autonomous or remote controlled drone, which is capable of completing particular manoeuvrability or tracking tasks. The module aims to give the students an opportunity to to try out their ideas or concepts and learn from them in a benign environment. Conventional laboratory experiments are useful mainly to assist understanding or analysis. Because they are of necessity stereotyped, they are of limited usefulness when a circuit or system must be designed to meet a given specification. The majority of engineering tasks fall into this latter category, and therefore require design or synthesis skills, in addition to the understanding of underlying engineering principles. This is additional to the analysis skills emphasized in the course so far. This module includes a group design exercise that has been devised to provide a bridge between 'conventional' experiments and the project work in the third and fourth years, (which in turn provide a bridge to 'real' projects in industry). The exercise has real deadlines and concrete deliverables and students are encouraged to be creative, develop imaginative solutions and to make mistakes.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the problems associated with designing practical circuits and systems.
  • Defining the specification of an artifact that needs to be designed, tested and commissioned.
  • The design process and the processes involved in project management.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Synthesise simple circuits and systems.
  • Appreciate the problems in dealing with uncertain and possibly ambiguous specifications.
  • Develop a plan for the implementation of the design and the undertake those activities.
  • Analyse the design as it evolves, and deduce problems with the subsequent rectification.
  • Undertake an evaluation of the complete design and prepare a critical analysis.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Write formal reports in a clear, technical style.
  • Address problems associated with personal and group time management in a problem solving environment.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of team structure and dynamics, together with an appreciation of individual responsibilities working both as a pair and in a larger grouping.
  • Prepare working documents, designs and Gantt charts.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Integrate and debug hardware and software systems. In particular appreciate the special problems that occur when both domains are combined.
  • Understand and interpret technical literature and data sheets.
  • Undertake small scale mechanical and electronic construction.
  • Undertake realtime programming.
  • Undertake detailed fault finding of the developed circuits if required.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the advanced use of function generators, oscilloscopes and complex devices such as logic analysers and spectrum analysers.


The development of individual practical skills through completion of a simple build and test exercise, incorporating soldering, circuit construction and the manufacture of a system. Groups of students are required to undertake a design, build and test project against a predefined specification. The project assessment includes a competitive trial, individual log books, group reports and quality assessment of the designed system. The interface between electronic, mechanical and aerospace design. Effective use of laboratory equipment: oscilloscopes, spectrum analysers, network analysers, sensitive meters and component testers, sources. Synthesis vs analysis. Effective use of design software etc. Designs optimised to meet multiple criteria. Design of consumer devices: iStuff examples. Commercial models, outsourcing, fabless design etc.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will comprise laboratory sessions, which will introduce components that the students may elect to use in their group design exercise. Throughout the academic year, construction clinics will be provided for students to gain feedback and advice for debugging their group design exercise build, as well as for test flights. At the conclusion of the group design exercise, a demonstration event will enable judges selected from industry to evaluate the construction, functionality and capability of the drones. The students will give a presentation to detail the process of design, construction and testing of the build, as well as to explore the potential for its commercialisation. Besides attendance at the above listed events, the students will work in teams to design, build and test their drones. They will be able to attend the laboratories in between lectures and other scheduled activities. They will also produce team reports, individual technical reports, individual reflections and group presentations.

Wider reading or practice30
Follow-up work1
Completion of assessment task53
Preparation for scheduled sessions1
Project supervision63
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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