The Design and Construction of a Brushless DC Motor for the UVA Electromagnetic Conversion Laboratory; Drones and Regulation: Issues Surrounding Government Oversight of Drone Technology

Carson, M. Chase, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Baritaud, Catherine, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Capable of delivering supplies to remote areas, inspecting infrastructure, or simply providing an exciting hobby, drones have a far-reaching impact on society. The technical research focuses on one specific component commonly used in drones: the brushless direct current motor. By addressing specific complexities surrounding motor operation, the technical project aims to produce a teaching aid for use by students to further their study of the technology. The science, technology and society (STS) topic seeks to address the social context of drones, the social issues they present, and the current issues surrounding drone legislation. The coupled technical and STS topics describe the creation of the brushless direct current motor teaching aid, as well as the impacts of drone technology and the laws regulating them.
The technical report details the development of a brushless direct current (DC) motor for use as a teaching aid in the Electromechanical Energy Conversion Laboratory at UVA. The increased complexity of brushless DC motors, in both the control hardware as well as the software, over their brushed counterparts necessitates more intensive study. The proposed device addresses these concerns by providing easy-to-use and highly configurable system to encourage learning and demonstrate the core concepts behind motor operation. The system was modeled using computer-aided design tools including Autodesk Inventor and National Instruments Multisim and Ultiboard. The final designs were constructed out of a wide variety of materials.
The motor was assembled using rapid prototyping techniques such as 3D printing and water jet cutting. Other professional services, such as printed circuit board manufacturing, were also employed. The motor was assembled and programmed to operate as requested by the lab instructor. Despite needing some modifications from the initial designs, the motor worked as expected and fit the design criteria for the project.
The inspiration for researching drone legislation arose from recently passed legislation that applies further restrictions on drone flights. The research addresses the question of how government should regulate drone technology to ensure both availability and safety. Callon’s Actor Network Theory was used to create the frameworks describing the various views and groups involved in the drone legislation. The framework was developed using a variety of sources including personal experience, legislative documents, news reports, and expert analysis. This framework was then used to support the thesis arguing that the increased government oversight is not necessary and prohibitive to technological advancement.
In addressing the new legislation, several arguments against it were discovered. The legislation proposes significant technological changes to existing drone technology but does not address specifics, leaving large gaps in the implementation process. Additionally, significant privacy concerns arose from the proposed implementations. Finally, the research addressed the need for such a solution demonstrating that the increased government oversight is neither enforceable nor necessary. While the research acknowledges the potential for increased safety and expansion of drone operations, the current implementations create more issues then they solve and thus the research concluded with the notion that this new legislation is not the correct answer to the issues surrounding drone technologies.
The goal of both projects was to seek solutions. The technical project provides a solution to challenges teaching the complexities of motor systems. Meanwhile, the STS research addresses one proposed solution to issues involving drone technologies and addresses both the strengths and weaknesses surrounding the proposed solutions.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Brushless Direct Current Motors, Drones, Actor Network Theory, Education, ANT, BLDC

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Catherine Baritaud
Technical Team Members: Gracie Judge, and Adam McGill

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