The Mud Season Challenge
UMaine Mechanical Engineering Capstone

April 30, 2016 UMaine University Forest
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  Autonomous vehicles that work and monitor the Maine woods present completely different  financial and practical constraints than those found in a large scale defense agency project in the desert. April in Maine provides some of the most uncertain and changeable terrain that a vehicle would encounter.  This competition focusses on systems designed for back country monitoring and  inspection of forests, agriculture operations and border integrity which must meet theunique financial and operational constraints encountered during a New England mud season.  
Competition Judges   

Mehari Tekeste: Competition Judge

Mehari Tekeste is currently a professor in the Agricultural Engineering Department at Iowa State University.  Dr. Tekeste previously worked at the Deere and Company, Technology Innovation Center in Moline Il.  He holds a B.Sc. in Soil and Water from Asmara University in Eritrea, the Wageningen University Research Cneter in the Netherlands and a Ph.D. in Soil Dynamics from the Auburn University associated with the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory USDA-ARS.  Professor Tekeste's background allows him to judge both the likelihood of the systems to be able to complete the competition, but also to understand the potential for this type of technology to be commercialized by a large agricultural equipment supplier.

Charles F. Maguire: Competition Judge

Chuck Maguire Engine Performance and Valvetrain Analysis Engineer, at General Motors Global Propulsion Systems.  Chuck is a former faculty member in Mechanical Engineering Technology at the University of Maine .  He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and has worked in a wide range of technical positions in the automotive industry.  Mr. Maguire brings not only real life understanding of the auto industry to the judging but also an awareness of the future of vehicle development by industry leaders

Raj Kizha: Competition Judge

Professor Kizha is a Professor of Forest Operations the University of Maine.  Previously at at Humbolt State University and with a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, Professor Kizha works with supply chain logistics and efficiency of timber harvesting.  His knowledge of wood lot operations allows him to judge the potential for the systems to be able to support timber harvesting operations.  


The development of the University of Maine Mechanical Engineering Capstone is the results of more than two decades of efforts.  Starting with the efforts of a team of faculty at Colorado State University, a model for student quality and accountability was developed.  Based on this foundation the efforts began at the University of Maine in 2000.  The principles underlying this vision are at: UMaine Capstone Mission Statement.  Like any project with a sustainable competitive advantage the UMaine capstone emphasizes world class efforts with a clear sense of place.  

Michael "Mick" Peterson, Ph.D.