30 April 2009 Toward a generic UGV autopilot
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Much of the success of small unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) has arguably been due to the widespread availability of low-cost, portable autopilots. While the development of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) has led to significant achievements, as typified by recent grand challenge events, to date the UGV equivalent of the UAV autopilot is not available. In this paper we describe our recent research aimed at the development of a generic UGV autopilot. Assuming we are given a drive-by-wire vehicle that accepts as inputs steering, brake, and throttle commands, we present a system that adds sonar ranging sensors, GPS/IMU/odometry, stereo camera, and scanning laser sensors, together with a variety of interfacing and communication hardware. The system also includes a finite state machine-based software architecture as well as a graphical user interface for the operator control unit (OCU). Algorithms are presented that enable an end-to-end scenario whereby an operator can view stereo images as seen by the vehicle and can input GPS waypoints either from a map or in the vehicle's scene-view image, at which point the system uses the environmental sensors as inputs to a Kalman filter for pose estimation and then computes control actions to move through the waypoint list, while avoiding obstacles. The long-term goal of the research is a system that is generically applicable to any drive-by-wire unmanned ground vehicle.
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Kevin L. Moore, Mark Whitehorn, Alejandro J. Weinstein, and Junjun Xia "Toward a generic UGV autopilot", Proc. SPIE 7332, Unmanned Systems Technology XI, 73321B (30 April 2009); Logo
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