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Unit of study_

MTRX3760: Mechatronic Systems Design

This unit of study follows a systems engineering approach to the integration of hardware and software components to form mechatronic systems. Sensors: dead reckoning and inertial sensors; external sensors including ultrasonic, laser, radar and GPS; sensor interfaces, serialisation and data streams. Methodologies for object-oriented design; the C++ language: classes and class design; overloading; inheritance and polymorphism; iostreams. Operating system: introduction to structure and principles; facilities for interprocess communication and synchronisation; device drivers and applications programming; Gnu software tools; make and related utilities; communications middleware for distributed software. Students will complete a six-week project working in groups to design and implement a distributed mechatronic system.


Academic unit Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic
Unit code MTRX3760
Unit name Mechatronic Systems Design
Session, year
Semester 2, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Donald Dansereau,
Lecturer(s) Donald Gilbert Dansereau ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home short release) Type D final exam hurdle task Final Exam
40% Formal exam period 3 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3
Assignment Lab Exercises
Foundational programming exercises; evaluating code, demo, and report
35% Multiple weeks Due in lab sessions Weeks 3,5,7, and 9
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment group assignment Major Project
Design of a complex mechatronic system; evaluating code, demo, and report
25% Week 12 Due in lab session Week 12
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type D final exam = Type D final exam ?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Group marks for Project Work will be moderated on the basis of individual effort and understanding, as perceived by the Lecturer and Tutor(s). To pass this unit of study it is necessary to obtain a mark of not less than 45% in both the (assignment + project) and examination components. Otherwise, the maximum mark that will be awarded is 45%.

Students who borrow hardware as part of this unit must return the hardware in working condition. Failure to do so will result in the final grade being withheld.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of exceptional standard.  Work demonstrates mastery of the concepts and principles covered in class, as well as initiative and ingenuity in applying concepts to new situations. Work shows pointed and critical analysis of material as well as thoroughness and thoughtfulness. Demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the unit material and its relevance in a wider context.


75 - 84

Work of superior standard.  Work demonstrates initiative, complex understanding and original analysis and application of subject matter in context; shows critical understanding of the principles and values underlying the unit of study.  In particular, students who aim for a Distinction and higher will have to accomplish the requirements of a Credit and should be able to:

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of material beyond the immediate scope of the lecture material.
  • Generalise and apply concepts to more complicated scenarios.
  • Analyse complex mechatronic systems, and apply a systems engineering approach in order to develop and demonstrate working systems following principled design practices.


65 - 74

Competent work.  Evidence of initiative in learning, sound grasp of subject matter and appreciation of key issues and context.  Engages critically and creatively with the material and attempts synthesis and application of material.  Goes beyond solving of simple problems to seeing how material in different parts of the unit of study relate to each other by solving problems drawing on concepts and ideas from other parts of the unit of study.  In particular, students who aim for a Credit will have to accomplish the requirements of a Pass and should be able to:

  • Relate between the various components of the course and understand their interaction in terms of design and integration of mechatronic systems.
  • Understand the taxonomy and limitations of key components of mechatronic systems.
  • Understand and apply the principles of object oriented design to design basic mechatronic systems.
  • Implement mechatronic systems using industry-standard tools including C++, Linux, the standard libraries, and ROS robotics middleware.


50 - 64

Work of acceptable standard.  Work meets basic requirements in terms of reading and research and demonstrates a reasonable understanding of subject matter.  Able to solve relatively simple problems involving direct application of particular components of the unit of study.  In particular, students who aim for a Pass should be able to:

  • Understand the principles of object oriented design.
  • Analyse an existing mechatronic system and the underlying system design choices.
  • Synthesise and communicate basic system designs using standard tools including UML class diagrams.
  • Make basic use of standard tools in Linux, C++, and ROS robotics middleware.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction; 2. The OOP paradigm Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 02 1. Inheritance, UML; 2. Polymorphism Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Week 03 1. Software project management; 2. STL Containers Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Week 04 1. Modern C++xx, pointers; 2. Object-oriented design Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Week 05 1. ROS introduction; 2. ROS publishers and subscribers Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Week 06 1. ROS sensor messages; 2. ROS visualisation and debugging Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Week 07 1. STL iterators, algorithms, templating; 2. Streams and overloading Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Week 08 1. Namespaces and nesting 2. ROS TF transforms Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7
Week 09 1. Sensors; 2. Software design patterns Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 10 1. ROS services and actions; 2. ROS plugins / nodelets Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 11 1. ROS localisation; 2. ROS computer vision Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 12 1. ROS navigation stack; 2. Exam review Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. design, plan for and execute a significant software project in a team
  • LO2. design and implement object-oriented software in C++
  • LO3. partition a software design into classes and applications modules
  • LO4. document a software design using modelling tools
  • LO5. develop the capacity to think creatively and independently about new design problems
  • LO6. understand in detail the operating principals and interface of serially-attached sensors
  • LO7. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of fundamental aspects of a contemporary operating system, as they relate to the design of software to execute within the operating system.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
In response to student feedback and level of achievement last year, we have better emphasised fundamental design principles in lectures and assessments, and changed foundational lab exercises to be completed on an individual basis. To compensate for the added workload, and in response to concerns raised last year, we have introduced more detailed and focused deliverables for the labs and major project work, allowed more time to complete labs, and reduced the scope of the major project. Consequently, the labs now represent a larger proportion of the overall grade. We have directly implemented suggestions to introduce ROS earlier in the lectures and lab exercises. We have also reduced the number of questions on the exam and increased its duration to 3h, to allow students to better reflect their capacity for creative design thinking. To address safety concerns during the still-evolving COVID-19 situation we are limiting numbers in each lab section, only allowing access during scheduled sessions, emphasising individual work early in the semester, providing support to run the required software tools remotely, and allowing all assessments to be completed remotely.

Work, health and safety

To cope with the COVID situation, lectures will be delivered live via Zoom, and in-person lab attendance is optional and can be replaced with alternative, remote assessments.

For those attending labs in person, we have made some adjustments to how the Mechatronics Lab is managed:

  • You will only have access to the lab during your scheduled lab sessions.
  • A record of attendance will be kept for contact tracing if required.
  • You must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others whenever possible.
  • We have limited student numbers in each lab session to allow this physical distancing to be maintained.
  • The use of hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes before and after using Lab facilities is mandatory.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of face masks is strongly recommended. Please acquire face masks and bring them to all your classes in the Mechatronics Lab starting from Week 1.
  • Obey all Lab signage including guidelines for sanitising workstations and hardware, PPE, and procedures for entry and exit.
  • If you are feeling unwell, please stay at home.

The COVID situation is still evolving: please monitor email closely for any changes in policy.


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