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VIRGINIA MOUNTAIN SECTION 
NEWSLETTER 
 
IEEE Region 3, Council 9, Section 65                May 1997 
 
                                            Contents
*****************************************************
1. May Meeting 
 	Autonomous Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech 
2. Reservations for the May Meeting 
3. VMS Activities 
4. April Meeting Report
5. Election Time
6. Computer/Control/IES Chapter Meeting 
	PWM Motor Drives - Design and Application Issues
7. VMS Home Page 
	Revised
8. Chapter Chairmen 
	Message
9. Virginia Mountain Section


***************************************************** ( 1 ) 
May Meeting 
 
Autonomous Vehicle Team of Virginia Tech 
Paul J. Johnson 
Virginia Tech 
 
For the last two years an interdisciplinary group of  
students at Virginia Tech has been working to design  
and build autonomous ground vehicles capable of  
navigating an outdoor obstacle course. Now officially  
called the Autonomous Vehicle Team (AVT), this  
group consists of students and faculty advisors from  
the EE and ME departments, as well as students from  
CpE and other disciplines outside of the College of  
Engineering. Last July the AVT entered two vehicles in  
competition against approximately fifteen other  
vehicles developed by student teams at other schools.  
In what was our team's first year at the annual  
competition, our two vehicles placed 1st and 3rd in the  
design category and 10th and 6th in actual performance  
on the obstacle course. 
 
Creating autonomous vehicles has exposed our team to  
many interesting design issues. One issue, called sensor  
fusion, refers to the concept of combining large  
quantities of data into a limited number of control  
signals/decisions. This talk will focus on the specific  
issue of sensor fusion, and the methods we used to  
combine data from ultrasonic sensors, tactile sensors,  
and a computer vision system into a single command: a  
desired steering angle. 
 
We have developed a third vehicle for this year's  
competition, which will take place in late May near  
Detroit, MI. One of the team's vehicles should be  
available for examination and demonstration before and  
after the talk. 
 
About the Speaker 
Mr. Johnson received the BSEE in 1991 from the  
University of Virginia. He entered graduate school at  
Virginia Tech in the fall of 1992 and received the  
MSEE in July of 1994, continuing on in the EE PhD  
program. Control systems is his area of concentration,  
and his research involves the use traditional control  
system techniques as guides to creating better artificial  
intelligence algorithms for control system applications. 
 
Mr. Johnson has been an active member for the last  
two years in the Autonomous Vehicle Team of Virginia  
Tech. 

***************************************************** ( 2 ) 
Reservations for the May Meeting 
 
Date:	Thursday, May 15 1997  
Social:	6:30 
Dinner: 	7:00 
Talk:	8:00 
 
Place:	Holiday Inn - Salem 
	off I-81 at Exit 137, 
	North on Wildwood, then 1st right 
 
Cost:	Member or Guest	$12.00 
	Student		$ 4.50 
 
Please make reservations by Monday, May 12, 5:00 P.M. 
Roanoke:	David Livingston	857-6261 
Blacksburg:	Anbo Wang	231-4355 
Lexington:	Dick Skutt	464-7236 
Radford and  
Christiansburg: 	Usha Varshney	731-0655

***************************************************** ( 3 ) 
VMS Activities 
 
Executive Committee Meeting 
 
There will be a meeting of the VMS Executive  
Committee, one hour before the meeting social hour,  
at the Holiday Inn Restaurant. 
 
The meeting will include an MTT/ED planning  
session, beginning at about 6:00 PM, to discuss and  
select speakers for MTT/ED chapter meetings. 

***************************************************** ( 4 ) 
April Meeting Report 
 
The April meeting had been selected as the traditional  
VMS Spouses' Night, so that the program reflected a  
lighter social and technical atmosphere. The meeting  
was held at the Farmhouse Restaurant in  Christiansburg
and the program was provided by Mr. R. Richard  
Avent, Senior Staff Scientist, at American Research  
Corporation of Virginia located in Radford. Eight  
members of VMS and five spouses were in attendance  
at the dinner and the program.  
 
The program was introduced by David L. Livingston,  
Vice-Chairman of VMS. The speaker for the evening  
selected as his topic "Applications of Interactive  
Multimedia in Health Care and Education". Mr. Avent  
opened his presentation by explaining a number of  
basic terms used in the multimedia community, such as  
bi-directional communications between human users  
and computer systems, which today incorporate audio  
and video into the usual computer hardware. Mr.  
Avent pointed out that multimedia computer systems  
have now become very user-friendly, so that many non- 
technical people can take advantage of the educational,  
training and entertainment aspects of computers. He  
noted that no programming experience is required of  
those who use the computer-based multimedia  
programs, so there is a wide acceptance across gender,  
race, age and socio-economic status. 
 
Mr. Avent described how multimedia has been used  
extensively in healthcare and education and has  
included programs for professional and lay education,  
marketing, assistance in medical diagnosis and  
treatment, and more recently in telemedicine with the  
advent of the Internet. He explained how his company,  
American Research Corporation of Virginia, has  
developed multimedia programs in family caregiver  
training, teen drinking, teen pregnancy prevention, and  
physician training in diagnosis and treatment of adult  
alcoholism. He noted further that he has been  
successful in the development and use of multimedia  
for teaching methods of asthma management in  
children, and has developed an interesting program in  
interactive reading to teach reading skills to adults who  
have low levels of literacy. 
 
Mr. Avent closed his presentation by showing test  
results from user groups who generally had a high level  
of acceptance of multimedia programs, who liked the  
ease of use of computers, who reported knowledge  
gains and improvements in skills, and who had positive  
changes in attitude and self-esteem. He pointed out  
that the future holds great hope for the inclusion of  
multimedia systems broadly within education and self- 
learning at home, aided considerably by the growth of  
the Internet. 
 
The meeting was closed by David Livingston, who  
presented Mr. Avent with a Certificate of Appreciation  
on behalf of Virginia Mountain Section. 
 
 ...Usha Varshney Secretary/Treasurer  
 
***************************************************** ( 5 ) 
Election Time 
 
May is election time for the VM Section. You will  
soon be receiving a ballot listing the candidates that  
have been nominated for Officers, Executive  
Committee Members, and Chapter Chairmen.  
Biographies for all candidates are included. 
 
Please take a few minutes to check your choices or  
write in a vote for your candidate. Then fold, tape,  
stamp, and drop it in the mail. 
 
Thank you. 
 
...editor 
 
***************************************************** ( 6 ) 
Computer/Control/IES Chapter Meeting 
 
 
"PWM Motor Drives-  
Design and Application Issues" 
 
Andy Stevenson,  Sr. Design Engineer 
GE Motors and Industrial Systems 
 
Tuesday, May 13, 1997 - 5:00 to 7:00 PM 
 
Cafeteria A, GE Industrial Systems 
1501 Roanoke Blvd., Salem, VA  
 
The recent arrival of high power Pulse-Width- 
Modulation (PWM) AC Drives has brought new  
concerns to engineers that use them. Among these are  
PWM chopping frequency and switching transients,  
which affect motor derating, inverter rating, cabling,  
motor insulation and bearing failures. This talk will  
address these problems, as well as reflections at high  
power levels, Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI),  
and grounding and shielding practices. Rules for good  
practice, and twisted and blackened examples of bad  
practice will be shown. 
 
Andy Stevenson is known to GE Salem engineers for  
his witty and pertinent lectures on Power Conversion,  
and his unique Australian/Canadian greeting, "Good  
day, eh?". Andy graduated from the Royal Military  
College with a BSEE in 1960. He continued his studies  
at the University of Toronto, where he received the  
BASc and MASc in 1961 and 1965. He immediately  
began work with Canadian GE, where he was involved  
in the development of power converters for DC drives  
and field supplies. He later worked on multi-bridge DC  
drives, cyclo-converters, and Load Commutated  
Inverters. Since moving to GE Salem in 1990, he has  
continued as a Senior Engineer for the development of  
AC and DC drives. He is a Senior Member of the  
IEEE, and a member of the Professional Engineers of  
Ontario. 
 
All IEEE Members and Guests are welcome.  There  
is no charge. Come to the main entrance, near the  
flagpole. The room is open at 5:00, so come early. 
 
Reservations are appreciated! Call Dave Geer, (540)  
387-7359 or e-mail d.geer@ieee.org by 5 PM Monday,  
May 12. 
... Dave Geer 
 
***************************************************** ( 7 ) 
VMS Home Page 
 
The Virginia Mountain Section Web Home Page  
(http://fiddle.ee.vt.edu/ieeevms/) has recently been  
modified and expanded to make it easier to use and  
include more information about the Section, the  
Region, and National, and items of interest to  
engineers. 
 
You will find quick access to schedules, details about  
the Section, numerous publications and articles  
normally not distributed to the general membership (in  
complete format). Links to professional, federal, and  
private organizations and groups active in national  
issues affecting our profession. There are also more  
than a dozen direct links to particular IEEE services  
such as Educational, Employment Assistance,  
PE-Licensure. Standards and Publications, Address  
and Membership Info Changes, and more. 
 
Check it out and use the autofeedback to the editor  
(available on the main page) to let us know what you  
would like to see there to make it even better. 

***************************************************** ( 8 ) 
Chapter Chairmen 
 
Places have been reserved in the Home Page for any  
and all kinds of information about your Chapter:  
History, function, requirements, activities, schedules,  
flash announcements, meetings, speakers ... . Please  
send your material to the editor or submit it with the  
auto-mail feature on the Web Page. 
 
***************************************************** ( 9 ) 
Virginia Mountain Section

VMS Officers                      
Chairman:  	Anbo Wang	
		awang@vt.edu	              231-4355
Vice Chairman:  	David Livingston
		d.livingston@ieee.org	857-6261
Sec./Treasurer:  	Usha Varshney 
		varshney@usit.net	731-0655

VMS Executive Committee:
	Russell Churchill
		arcova@swva.net		731-0655
	Ira Jacobs
		ijacobs@vt.edu		231-5620
	Daniel W. Jackson
		d.jackson@ieee.org 	774-0484
	Scott Midkiff
		midkiff@vt.edu		231-5190

Virginia Council
	Representative:	vacant

VMS Chapter Chairs
Industry Applications Chapter
Chairman: 	 Walter Hill
		hill-wa@salem.ge.com	387-8619
Microwave Theory & Techniques/Electron Devices
Chairman: 	Hausila Singh
		hsingh@gtc.itt.com	563-8639
Industrial Electronics/Computer/Control Systems Chapter
Chairman:  	David Geer
		d.geer@ieee.org		387-7359
Power Engineering Chapter
Chairman:  	Subhas Sarkar
		vtc@roanoke.infi.net	345-9892 x-152


Newsletter Editor:  John Fennick
	j.fennick@ieee.org  	552-0052

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