Sacred Heart University has received a $25,000 grant from Sikorsky for development of the engineering program the university launched last fall.
The grant will help fund materials and parts for designing autonomous vehicles — such as microcontrollers, sensors and electronics — that will be used in the introductory engineering courses offered to freshmen.
In those courses, students will learn fundamentals of programming, controls and design. They also will build drones and cars that accomplish specific tasks, including obstacle avoidance, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi navigation, terrain-based challenges and drone flight.
“With the funds provided, every single freshman engineering student will be able to build and program two autonomous vehicles — a drone and a miniature car — and test these vehicles on custom-built indoor and outdoor obstacle courses,” said Tolga Kaya, SHU’s director of engineering programs.
The approach will lay the foundation for the university’s electrical engineering program, expected to launch in 2019, the Fairfield-based school said.
With SHU’s acquisition of the former GE campus, the university has committed to offering students Connecticut’s largest makerspace, with tools and equipment to enable creativity and innovation and foster engineering design processes. The former GE campus will be the hub of growth and innovation at SHU.
“We are proud to support the development of the engineering curriculum at Sacred Heart University,” said Woody Woodyard, vice president of communications at Stratford-based Sikorsky, which is owned by Lockheed Martin.
“This grant enables Sacred Heart University to educate, train and graduate talented engineers, right here in Connecticut,” Woodyard said. “We look forward to a partnership that provides unique opportunities for our engineers to build relationships with students as role models and mentors.”