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Preliminary Design Review

Preliminary Design Review

Preliminary Design Review Reports are due no later than 11:59pm Mountain Standard Time (MST; UTC-7) on November 30, 2018.


The requirements below have been updated for 2019.


Format and Submission Details

Preliminary Design Review (PDR) Reports are limited to a total of 4 pages.  Pages 1-2 may contain text and graphics (images, figures, etc.); pages 3-4 may only contain graphics with captions.  Pages should be in letter paper size (8.5 in. x 11 in.), with margins no smaller than 1 in. (2.5 cm), text in 10 point font, and single spaced.  Graphics and images are allowed within the page limit, but are not required (they are strongly encouraged).  PDR Reports may be submitted at any time prior to the deadline, and will be reviewed by judges on a rolling basis.  PDR Reports must be submitted no later than the due date (to be announced).  This is a considered a non-competitive review milestone, meaning that reports will only be assessed on their own merits.


A header at the top of the first page must identify the URC team's name, university, city and country, the student team lead, and an additional optional point of contact.


Electronic submissions are required in *.doc, *.docx or *.pdf (preferred) file formats.  Google Drive files (*.gdoc) are not allowed for submissions.  Files should be uploaded via a form link that will be sent directly to Student Team Leads (the file may be uploaded by any student team member with a Google account).


Report Content

The PDR Report is expected to focus on the team structure, resources, project management plan, and preliminary technical design. Judges will be assessing each team's overall level of readiness to undertake the URC competition, specifically whether teams will be ready to submit a System Acceptance Review package in March, and be prepared to compete by May (if selected). Judges view this report as a tool that will help teams to solidify and articulate the essential elements of a successful team early in the competition cycle.


The following are essential elements of information that teams are required to address.  Teams may discuss any other topics that they feel are appropriate.


1. Team Structure

Discuss your team's structure, to include the leadership and overall membership.  A summary of the backgrounds of team members (which academic departments are represented, relevant experience, etc.) should also be discussed.  Briefly discuss your team’s communication plan, recruiting plans, and educational outreach plans.


2. Team Resources

Discuss your team's financial and facility resources.  This should include a budget, your fundraising and financial management plan, and your access to appropriate design and fabrication spaces.  Finances should be listed in USD (United States Dollars).


Simply stating that you will build a budget and raise funds is considered insufficient - please describe your budget, fundraising plan, etc.


3. Project Management Plan

Discuss your team's overall approach to the URC system development life cycle (e.g. plan, design, manufacture, integrate, test).  This plan should explain how you intend to solve the problems, not necessarily the exact solution.  Technical design details may be provided to support the project management plan discussion.


Additional required elements of the Project Management Plan include:

  • A work schedule in the form of a Gantt chart specifying responsible people/subteams, tasks throughout the URC system development life cycle, and dates (specify who is doing what when);

  • Document sharing and knowledge management plan;

  • Systems engineering and integration plan;

  • Testing and evaluation plan.


4. Preliminary Technical Design
Teams should present their preliminary technical design for major rover systems (e.g. mobility, communications, arm, command and control, science payload). Details are encouraged, but not required.

Tips From the Judges
  • Use all four pages allowed.
  • Read and follow all of the instructions.
  • A full biography of each team member is not required when addressing Team Structure! Be thoughtful about the space devoted to each section of your report.
  • Simply stating that your team has a subsection of the plan (“we will create and follow a test and evaluation plan”) will be considered insufficient.  The goal is to demonstrate to judges that your team has a plan tailored for you that will help you be successful.
  • Do not rely on your team's past success as a substitute for addressing the required elements of information.
  • While 4 pages may seem short for the information requested, the format is designed to keep your report focused and concise.
  • Use pages 3 and 4 effectively by including:
    • A graphical organization chart show how the team is organized;
    • Budget table (list income sources, anticipated expenses by category, and what remains to be raised, all provided in USD);
    • Gantt chart (specify dates, not just the number of elapsed weeks; specify tasks, not just milestones);
    • Picture(s) of design graphics, or any fabricated components/systems.
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