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Students Built Earth Rover

Saturday, November 2, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

roverStudents and instructors from the Architecture Design and Engineering Graphics Technology Program showcased their newly completed Earth Rover on Wednesday at Oktoberfest at Texas State Technical College.

Program chair Hector Yanez rode around the festival in the Earth Rover showing off the hard work that that took the involvement of over 30 students in the span of two years and three months.

"Everyone worked hard on this and we're all taking a lot of pride in the finished product," Yanez said.

The Rover started as a a pair of axles from an old golf cart that were donated to the program. From there, Yanez said every part of the vehicle was manufactured by the students.

"The students did everything on their own and we even got some help from some of the other programs on campus," Yanez said.

Yanez said the Auto Collision Technology, Welding and Precision Machining Programs all helped in the construction of this rover.

"We did most of the work but there were areas where we asked for the help from other places and they were all willing to help," Yanez said.

The Earth Rover is equipped with a GPS mapping system and is able to collect data points wherever it travels. The data is then downloaded in the lab and put to use by the students.

Yanez said the Earth Rover's GPS capability has made it an attractive project and has been courted by some of the smaller municipalities in the Valley.

"Some of these smaller cities don't have these capabilities so they've already contacted us about collecting data points and coordinates for them using our GPS system and rover," Yanez said.

Many of the students that worked on the rover came in during their free time, Yanez said.

Jonathan Gutierrez of Harlingen continues to work on the rover even after graduation. Gutierrez graduated in Summer 2013 and plans on pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M-Kingsville. He's currently enrolled in a couple of academic classes and on his free time continues be part of the Earth Rover project. He started working on it in the Spring of 2012.

"There's definitely a sense of pride in seeing the final product," Gutierrez said. "It took a lot of work and it was definitely an adventure."

Yanez said students like Gutierrez are now more attractive to potential employers and more competitive once they get into the workforce thanks to this project.

"Our students aren't just drafters sitting on a table and drawing, Yanez said. "We get so much hands on work from manufacturing to designing...we do a lot of what a drafter in industry is now required to do too."

To learn more about the Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics program, go to http://www.tstc.edu/harlingendrafting.

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