Research & Innovation

Stevens Team Places Third in 2012-2013 National FAA Design Competition for Universities

A team of Stevens students recently placed third in Runway Safety/Runway Incursions/Runway Excursions Challenge of the seventh annual Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Design Competition for Universities.

The team – Engineering Management seniors Kelley Bancroft, Deonne Francisco, Danielle Pugliese, Megan Webb and Adam Wing – won $1,000 for their submission, the Guairdian System.

The Guairdian System is a cost-effective, GPS system for ground vehicles that operate within the perimeter of an airport. It would continuously inform drivers of their position relative to their cleared area of movement and proactively warn them if they are about to cause an incursion on runways, taxiways, or other areas of the airfield they are not cleared for.

The unique application of GPS technology could have broad applications for improving situational awareness on airports.

“This is a great testament to the student team and how they applied what they have learned in the Engineering Management program here at Stevens,” said Stevens Professor Eirik Hole, the team’s advisor. “They sought out and engaged energetically with key people from the FAA and the Port Authority to intimately understand the problem of air traffic control and how it impacts the overall operations at Newark Airport. Then they applied many of the tools and methods from Engineering Management and Systems Engineering to come up with, and evaluate, an innovative and cost effective solution concept to a very real world problem of ground vehicles entering runways, taxiways and other restricted areas within the premises of an airport without proper authorization. Last, but not least they were able to communicate their findings and ideas in a coherent design proposal that the VP of Safety and Technical Training in the FAA's Air Traffic Organization labeled ‘very well-written.’”

The FAA competition, which is judged by panels of FAA, industry and academic experts, seeks to engage students at U.S. colleges and universities in addressing issues facing airports while providing quality educational experiences and exposure to aviation and airport-related careers.

Students were invited to propose in six technical challenge areas: airport operations and maintenance; runway safety; airport environmental interactions; airport management and planning; innovative application of FAA data and electric/hybrid-electric aircraft technology. 

The competition requires that students work with a faculty advisor and that they reach out to airport operators and to industry experts to obtain advice and to assess the practicality of their proposed designs/solutions. 

This competition is managed for the FAA by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium based in Hampton, Va.  Partnering organizations are: American Association of Airport Executives; the Airport Consultants Council (ACC); Airports Council International – North America; National Association of State Aviation Officials, and the University Aviation Association.  Partners assist in developing competition guidelines, provide expert advisors for teams, disseminate competition information to organizational members, and participate in design reviews.