Scholarly
    Communications Project


Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Charles Dean Haynie
Email address:chaynie@vt.edu
URN:1998/00882
Title:Development of a Novel Zero-Turn-Radius Autonomous Vehicle
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Mechanical Engineering
Committee Chair: Charles Reinholtz
Chair's email:creinhol@vt.edu
Committee Members:John Bay
William Saunders
Keywords:Autonomous Vehicles, Sensors, Navigation
Date of defense:August 5, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work immediately worldwide.

Abstract:

This thesis describes the development of a new zero-turn-radius (ZTR) differentially driven robotic vehicle hereinafter referred to as NEVEL. The primary objective of this work was to develop a device that could be used as a test-bed for continued autonomous vehicle research at Virginia Tech while meeting the entry requirements of the Annual International Unmanned Ground Robotics Competition. In developing NEVEL, consideration was given to the vehicle's mechanical and electrical design, sensing and computing systems, and navigation strategy. Each of these areas was addressed individually, but always within the context of optimal integration to produce the best overall vehicle system. A constraint that directed much of the design process was the desire to integrate industrially available and proven components rather than creating custom designed systems. This thesis also includes a review of the relevant literature as it pertains to both subsystem and overall vehicle design.

NEVEL, the vehicle that was created from this research effort, is novel in several respects. It is one of the few true embodiments of a fully functioning, three-wheel, differential drive autonomous vehicle. Several previous studies have developed this concept for indoor applications, but none has resulted in a working test-bed that can be applied to an unstructured, outdoor environment. NEVEL also appears to be one of the few autonomous vehicle systems to fully incorporate a commercially available laser range finder. These features alone would make NEVEL a useful platform for continued research. In addition, however, by using common, off-the-shelf components and a personal computer platform for all computation and control, NEVEL has been created to facilitate testing of new navigation and control strategies. As testimony to the success of this design, NEVEL was recognized at the Sixth Annual International Unmanned Ground Robotics Competition as the best overall design.


List of Attached Files

Ch6-Vita.PDF Ch_3-4.PDF Chapter2.pdf
Chapter5.PDF Ttl-Ch1.PDF


The author grants to Virginia Tech or its agents the right to archive and display their thesis or dissertation in whole or in part in the University Libraries in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all proprietary rights, such as patent rights. The author also retains the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis or dissertation.