Enhancing Autonomous Vehicle Navigation with a Clothoid-Based Lateral Controller

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This study introduces an advanced lateral control strategy for autonomous vehicles using a clothoid-based approach integrated with an adaptive lookahead mechanism. The primary focus is on enhancing lateral stability and path-tracking accuracy through the application of Euler spirals for smooth curvature transitions, thereby reducing passenger discomfort and the risk of vehicle rollover. An innovative aspect of our work is the adaptive adjustment of lookahead distance based on real-time vehicle dynamics and road geometry, which ensures optimal path following under varying conditions. A quasi-feedback control algorithm constructs optimal clothoids at each time step, generating the appropriate steering input. A lead filter compensates for the vehicle’s lateral dynamics lag, improving control responsiveness and stability. The effectiveness of the proposed controller is validated through a comprehensive co-simulation using TruckSim® and Simulink®, demonstrating significant improvements in lateral control performance across diverse driving scenarios. Future directions include scaling the controller for higher-speed applications and further optimization to minimize off-track errors, particularly for articulated vehicles.

Shaju, A.; Southward, S.; Ahmadian, M. Enhancing Autonomous Vehicle Navigation with a Clothoid-Based Lateral Controller. Appl. Sci. 2024, 14, 1817.