Trajectory Tracking Control of Unmanned Ground Vehicles using an Intermittent Learning Algorithm
Gundu, Pavan Kumar
MetadataShow full item record
Traffic congestion and safety has become a major issue in the modern world's commute. Congestion has been causing people to travel billions of hours more and to purchase billions of gallons of fuel extra which account to congestion cost of billions of dollars. Autonomous driving vehicles have been one solution to this problem because of their huge impact on efficiency, pollution, and human safety. Also, extensive research has been carried out on control design of vehicular platoons because a further improvement in traffic throughput while not compromising the safety is possible when the vehicles in the platoon are provided with better predictive abilities. Motion control is a key area of autonomous driving research that handles moving parts of vehicles in a deliberate and controlled manner. A widely worked on problem in motion control concerned with time parameterized reference tracking is trajectory tracking. Having an efficient and effective tracking algorithm embedded in the autonomous driving system is the key for better performance in terms of resources consumed and tracking error. Many tracking control algorithms in literature rely on an accurate model of the vehicle and often, it can be an intimidating task to come up with an accurate model taking into consideration various conditions like friction, heat effects, ageing processes etc. And typically, control algorithms rely on periodic execution of the tasks that update the control actions, but such updates might not be required, which result in unnecessary actions that waste resources. The main focus of this work is to design an intermittent model-free optimal control algorithm in order to enable autonomous vehicles to track trajectories at high-speeds. To obtain a solution which is model-free, a Q-learning setup with an actor-network to approximate the optimal intermittent controller and a critic network to approximate the optimal cost, resulting in the appropriate tuning laws is considered.
General Audience Abstract
A risen research effort in the area of autonomous vehicles has been witnessed in the past few decades because these systems improve safety, comfort, transport time and energy consumption which are some of the main issues humans are facing in the modern world’s highway systems. Systems like emergency braking, automatic parking, blind angle vehicle detection are creating a safer driving environment in populated areas. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are what such kind of systems are known as. An extension of these partially automated ADAS are vehicles with fully automated driving abilities, which are able to drive by themselves without any human involvement. An extensively proposed approach for making traffic throughput more efficient on existing highways is to assemble autonomous vehicles into platoons. Small intervehicle spacing and many vehicles constituting each platoon formation improve the traffic throughput significantly. Lately, the advancements in computational capabilities, in terms of both algorithms and hardware, communications, and navigation and sensing devices contributed a lot to the development of autonomous systems (both single and multiagent) that operate with high reliability in uncertain/dynamic operating conditions and environments. Motion control is an important area in the autonomous vehicles research. Trajectory-tracking is a widely studied motion control scenario which is about designing control laws that force a system to follow some time-dependent reference path and it is important to have an effective and efficient trajectory-tracking control law in an autonomous vehicle to reduce the resources consumed and tracking error. The goal of this work is to design an intermittent model-free trajectory tracking control algorithm where there is no need of any mathematical model of the vehicle system being controlled and which can reduce the controller updates by allowing the system to evolve in an open loop fashion and close the loop only when an user defined triggering condition is satisfied. The approach is energy efficient in that the control updates are limited to instances when they are needed rather than unnecessary periodic updates. Q-learning which is a model-free reinforcement learning technique is used in the trajectory tracking motion control algorithm to make the vehicles track their respective reference trajectories without any requirement of their motion model, the knowledge of which is generally needed when dealing with a motion control problem. The testing of the designed algorithm in simulations and experiments is presented in this work. The study and development of a vehicle platform in order to perform the experiments is also discussed. Different motion control and sensing techniques are presented and used. The vehicle platform is shown to track a reference trajectory autonomously without any human intervention, both in simulations and experiments, proving the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.
- Masters Theses