Autonomous audio heater car: A comprehensive project-based analog design experience

Richard L. LeBoeuf, Jorge T. Gómez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper presents a methodology for teaching analog design concepts in the context of a single conceptual design and competition. The autonomous audio heater car is a comprehensive project-based analog design experience within a conceive, design, implement, operate framework. The students participate in the overall design process with guided discovery, rather than merely conducting scripted laboratory exercises. Students develop an understanding of the analog design required for each subsystem through weekly individual pre-laboratory and laboratory exercises. The car is guided to a beacon by light and/or audio tone. In transit, the car heats water to a temperature corresponding to the beacon tone and emits a tone corresponding to the instantaneous water temperature. The project culminates with team-based system integration and a competition. The individual work serves to cross-train all of the team members such that they all contribute effectively in the teams. The project motivated students because it provided a framework for laboratory topics, which would typically be considered without the broader context of a system design introduced at the beginning of the course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Electrical Engineering and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © The Author(s) 2018.


  • Analog design
  • electrical engineering education
  • problem-based learning
  • project-based learning


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