Title page for ETD etd-05022002-143530


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mellodge, Patricia
URN etd-05022002-143530
Title Feedback Control for a Path Following Robotic Car
Degree Master of Science
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kachroo, Pushkin Committee Chair
Abbott, A. Lynn Committee Member
VanLandingham, Hugh F. Committee Member
Keywords
  • lateral control
  • intelligent transportation system
  • curvature estimation
  • path following
  • autonomous vehicle
  • nonholonomic
Date of Defense 2002-04-25
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This thesis describes the current state of development of the Flexible Low-cost Automated Scaled Highway (FLASH) laboratory at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). The FLASH lab and the scale model cars contained therein provide a testbed for the small scale development stage of intelligent transportation systems (ITS). In addition, the FLASH lab serves as a home to the prototype display being developed for an educational museum exhibit.

This thesis also gives details of the path following lateral controller implemented on the FLASH car. The controller was developed using the kinematic model for a wheeled robot. The global model is converted into the path coordinate model so that only local variables are needed. then the path coordinate model is converted into chained form and a controller is given to perform path following.

The path coordinate model introduces a new parameter to the system: the curvature of the path. Thus, it is necessary to provide the path's curvature value to the controller. Because of the environment in which the car is operating, the curvature values are known a priori. Several online methods for determining the curvature are developed.

A MATLAB simulation environment was created with which to test the above algorithms. The simulation uses the kinematic model to show the car's behavior and implements the sensors and controller as closely as possible to the actual system.

The implementation of the lateral controller in hardware is discussed. The vehicle platform is described and the harware and software architecture detailed. The car described is capable of operating manually and autonomously. In autonomous mode, several sensors are utilized including: infrared, magnetic, ultrasound, and image based technology. The operation of each sensor type is described and the information received by the processor from each is discussed.

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