Development of an Automotive Ground Vehicle Platform for Autonomous Urban Operations
Currier, Patrick N.
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Autonomous ground vehicle operations, such as those found in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, require a reliable and capable vehicle platform. To meet this requirement, an autonomous ground vehicle platform based on a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid was developed for operations in urban environments. The vehicle conversion, dubbed Odin, contains a drive-by-wire system that is highly integrated with the OEM systems, providing throttle, steering, shifting, and braking actuation. The vehicle also includes a controller that provides low-level longitudinal using a map-linearized PI controller and lateral curvature control using a bicycle model. The control algorithms proved capable of controlling the vehicle at a level acceptable for autonomous operations. Communications are implemented using the Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS) using custom messages to enhance interoperability potential. The net result is a highly capable autonomous vehicle platform that was validated when Odin successfully completed the 60 mile Urban Challenge.
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