Doggie Ball Launcher; A discussion of electric car risks and emergency responders

Sarpong, Hayden, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Sean, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia

Electric cars are becoming a major risk to emergency responders and discussions need to be had on regulations that protect the people who save countless lives in these high-stress situations. The objective of the STS paper is to highlight an often-overlooked group of people who are at real risk due to the advancement of technology specifically in the car industry. This paper also illustrates a new framework to look at electric cars through in the form of a possible risk rather than only the lenses of next-generation innovation. There needs to be holistic approaches to innovation where the discussion doesn’t only focus on what these products can do for our society but on how they bring risks to other forms of society. On a different note, the technical project similar hopes to focus on a more invisible effect of COVID-19 which is the increase in dogs being adopted. Many people during this time of high stress became dog owners but as COVID-19 has become less prominent these people have returned to work. This has left many new dogs without as much attention and interaction as they had during the COVID-19 season and as a result can lead to extreme conditions like separation anxiety and destructive behavior. With this situation in mind, this project was designed to provide pets with substantial amounts of alone time some form of entertainment that will mitigate some of the conditions that may develop.
Given this, an automated ball launcher was created that allowed the owner to set parameters onto the physical machine through Bluetooth and then leave their home. Parameters like speed, distance, and time would be stored on the machine to allow the dog to play independently. This device was split into three different portions: the mobile/Bluetooth applications, the mechanical controller/software, and the physical makeup of the launcher. This technical project revealed how often initial plans need to be flexible to change such as compatibility, complexity, and even demand shortages which caused deviations from the initial idea. In the end, this project did achieve its desired result but not in the same method as early thought.
On the other hand, the STS paper led to more conclusions on how little focus there has been on mitigating the risks caused by electric cars. The last discussions on electric car safety and how it specifically pertains to emergency personnel happened in 2021. There hasn’t been any real change made by our legislation or the companies producing this vehicle. Nor is there much media coverage on the risk that electric car accidents as though our media platforms our waiting for a catastrophic event to happen before addressing a risk that could be avoided. There have been countries outside of the United States working towards addressing this risk through different programs and improvements to their vehicles. The question is how momentum is formed in order to get these risks addressed.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Electric Cars

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Sean Ferguson
Technical Team Members: Alexander Byrd, Andrew Childers, Alyce Hong, Austin Turner

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