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System Architectures and Environment Modeling for High-Speed Autonomous Navigation


Cremean, Lars Brör (2006) System Architectures and Environment Modeling for High-Speed Autonomous Navigation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/8HT2-N165.


Successful high-speed autonomous navigation requires integration of tools from robotics, control theory, computer vision, and systems engineering. This thesis presents work that develops and combines these tools in the context of navigating desert terrain.

A comparative analysis of reactive, behavior-based, and deliberative control architectures provides important guidelines for design of robotic systems. These guidelines depend on the particular task and environment of the vehicle. Two important factors are identified which guide an effective choice between these architectures: dynamic feasibility for the vehicle, and predictability of the environment. This is demonstrated by parallels to control theory, illustrative examples, simulations, and analysis of Bob and Alice---Caltech's full-scale autonomous ground vehicle entries in the 2004 and 2005 Grand Challenge races, respectively.

Further, new model-based methods are developed for constructing and maintaining estimates of terrain elevation and road geometry. These are demonstrated in simulation and in fully autonomous operation of Alice, including accurate detection and tracking of the centerline of desert roads at speeds up to 5 m/s. Finally, Alice's navigation architecture is presented in full along with experimental results that demonstrate its capabilities.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:autonomous navigation; dynamic feasibility; high-speed; predictability; robot architectures; unmanned ground vehicle
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Minor Option:Control and Dynamical Systems
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Murray, Richard M.
Thesis Committee:
  • Murray, Richard M. (chair)
  • Antonsson, Erik K.
  • Burdick, Joel Wakeman
  • Perona, Pietro
Defense Date:12 May 2006
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05242006-190748
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:2014
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:31 May 2006
Last Modified:17 Apr 2020 23:09

Thesis Files

PDF (cremean_thesis.pdf) - Final Version
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