Sampling Based Motion Planning for Heavy Duty Autonomous Vehicles
Abstract: The automotive industry is undergoing a revolution where the more traditional mechanical values are replaced by an ever increasing number of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) where advanced algorithms and software development are taking a bigger role. Increased safety, reduced emissions and the possibility of completely new business models are driving the development and most automotive companies have started projects that aim towards fully autonomous vehicles. For industrial applications that provide a closed environment, such as mining facilities, harbors, agriculture and airports, full implementation of the technology is already available with increased productivity, reliability and reduced wear on equipment as a result. However, it also gives the opportunity to create a safer working environment when human drivers can be removed from dangerous working conditions. Regardless of the application an important part of any mobile autonomous system is the motion planning layer. In this thesis sampling-based motion planning algorithms are used to solve several non-holonomic and kinodynamic planning problems for car-like robotic vehicles in different application areas that all present different challenges.First we present an extension to the probabilistic sampling-based Closed-Loop Rapidly exploring Random Tree (CL-RRT) framework that significantly increases the probability of drawing a valid sample for platforms with second order differential constraints. When a tree extension is found infeasible a new acceleration profile that tries to brings the vehicle to a full stop before the collision occurs is calculated. A resimulation of the tree extension with the new acceleration profile is then performed. The framework is tested on a heavy-duty Scania G480 mining truck in a simple constructed scenario.Furthermore, we present two different driver assistance systems for the complicated task of reversing with a truck with a dolly-steered trailer. The first is a manual system where the user can easily construct a kinematically feasible path through a graphical user interface. The second is a fully automatic planner, based on the CL-RRT algorithm where only a start and goal position need to be provided. For both approaches, the internal angles of the trailer configuration are stabilized using a Linear Quadratic (LQ) controller and path following is achieved through a pure-pursuit control law. The systems are demonstrated on a small-scale test vehicle with good results.Finally, we look at the planning problem for an autonomous vehicle in an urban setting with dense traffic for two different time-critical maneuvers, namely, intersection merging and highway merging. In these situations, a social interplay between drivers is often necessary in order to perform a safe merge. To model this interaction a prediction engine is developed and used to predict the future evolution of the complete traffic scene given our own intended trajectory. Real-time capabilities are demonstrated through a series of simulations with varying traffic densities. It is shown, in simulation, that the proposed method is capable of safe merging in much denser traffic compared to a base-line method where a constant velocity model is used for predictions.
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