United States Air Force Academy

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Robotics (minor)

Dog and Robot Dog

The newest US Air Force mission statement is “To fly, fight, and win…airpower anytime, anywhere,” and official USAF doctrine defines airpower as: “the ability to project military power through control and exploitation in, from and through the air.” Recognizing this fact, the robotics minor focuses on how war in the air domain will be changed through increased use of robotics. Up until now, robotics have primarily served in roles where repetitive functions could be automated. However, as cost, computing power and algorithmic development simultaneously enable newer classes of low-cost attritable assets, robotic systems are taking a prominent role in defense and projection of power. The Robotics Minor is for those cadets who want to go beyond the basic understanding of technology in the DoD via the USAFA Core, and will focus explicitly on capability, need and employment of robotic systems. It provides cadets exposure to tactical, operational, strategic considerations as well as technological capabilities and limits of robotic systems. It adds to the core curriculum’s foundation with greater depth in the specific application of robotic systems relevant to any Air Force operational specialty. This minor is compatible with any academic major.

Course Requirements

The Robotics Minor requires a minimum of 15 semester hours. The student must complete these five courses (15 semester hours) with a grade of “C” or better. Up to 9 semester hours may “multiple count” (double, triple, etc., as the case may be) toward this minor and a cadet’s advanced core options and/or major’s requirements. In the event that more than 9 semester hours satisfy requirements for this minor and a cadet’s major, second minor, or core classes, additional courses must be taken from the list of courses below. A cadet must take a minimum of 6 semester hours solely counted for the Robotics Minor. This is an interdisciplinary minor. No more than 2 courses for the minor can be from any one department, unless a specific special topic is proposed and approved via an ECE 499 or Mech Engr 499 (in this case, it is possible that 3 courses could come from either ECE or Mech Engr).

1-3. Three required foundational courses:
ECE 387 Introduction to Robotic Systems
Mech Engr 396 Mechatronics
Pol Sci 466 Cyber Security Policy and Politics
4-5. Choose two of the following depth options (Reminder, cadets may not choose more than a total of two courses from the same discipline):
Astro Engr 331 Space Systems Engineering
Mech Engr 320 Dynamics
Comp Sci 471 Artificial Intelligence
Comp Sci 472 Autonomous Systems
ECE 487 Fundamentals of Robotics
Econ 367 Industrial Organization
Engr 341 Linear Systems Analysis and Design
Engr 342 Linear Control System Analysis and Design
History 321 STEM at War: History of Technology and Warfare
Law 440 Cyber Law
Math 344 or 360 Applied Linear Algebra or Linear Algebra (you may not count both towards requirements for this minor)
Mgt 419 Technological Innovation Management
Philos 320 Ethics and Technology

With the approval of the minor AIC and the Department Head of an instructor offering a 499, cadets may substitute a robotics related 499 course.