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The University of Southampton

SESA6078 UASD Group Design Project

Module Overview

The Group Design Project (GDP) forms a major component of the MSc in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Design and has a weighting of 30 credit points. The GDP involves the full engineering design cycle, whereby groups of about four to five students must develop a fully working unmanned system.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast different manufacturing techniques, materials and components within a multi-objective problem.
  • Meet both personal and group objectives.
  • Handle the administration, organisation and finance of a project.
  • Communicate effectively and present your work to a professional standard.
  • Test out your ideas and concepts in a competitive format, i.e. the IMechE UAS Challenge.


At the start of the GDP the students will have a series of intensive “hands-on” teaching sessions covering: - Unmanned systems avionics, including typical control systems, electric propulsion equipment and autopilot systems. - Unmanned systems types and regulatory aspects. - Parametric geometry and assembly modelling and available manufacturing processes. - Use of spreadsheets for concept design and rudimentary design optimisation.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will commence with a series of intensive teaching sessions to ensure that the students are familiar with all the relevant technology, processes and design methods to enable them to undertake a design exercise. Students will be required to work in small teams (4-5) and will be issued with an outline requirement specification for an unmanned system. Each team will be required to undertake two design iterations of their design. The following sequence of milestones is planned: - Weeks 1-2; intensive teaching of background technology and processes/methods. - Weeks 1-2; student teams are given the requirement specification and a project briefing. - Mid Semester 1; formal design review of their concept and design models. - End of Semester 1; build and test iteration 1 of their design and produce a first flight test report. - Mid Semester 2; second formal design review; students present lessons learnt and modifications and improvements to their design. - Easter period of Semester 2 students build and test iteration 2 of their design. - At the end of Semester 2 demonstrate the full system in a live fly test. - At the end of Semester 2 produce a final report on the entire design process. - At the end of Semester 2 present the final results in a formal presentation Viva.

Independent Study200
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Reference materials. The students will be issued with relevant reference teaching materials and some components. Teams are encouraged to develop their flying skills using our new indoor flight test facility at Boldrewood.


Assessment Strategy

Referral Method - Repeat of the module. Method of repeat year - Can be repeated redoing the project with next year’s cohort - Repeat Year internally


MethodPercentage contribution
Design Report 15%
Final Report 25%
Group and individual presentation 20%
Group and individual presentation 15%
Group demonstration 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Repeat of module 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal

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