Contextual information aided target tracking and path planning for autonomous ground vehicles
2016-11-23T16:49:59Z (GMT) by
Recently, autonomous vehicles have received worldwide attentions from academic research, automotive industry and the general public. In order to achieve a higher level of automation, one of the most fundamental requirements of autonomous vehicles is the capability to respond to internal and external changes in a safe, timely and appropriate manner. Situational awareness and decision making are two crucial enabling technologies for safe operation of autonomous vehicles. This thesis presents a solution for improving the automation level of autonomous vehicles in both situational awareness and decision making aspects by utilising additional domain knowledge such as constraints and influence on a moving object caused by environment and interaction between different moving objects. This includes two specific sub-systems, model based target tracking in environmental perception module and motion planning in path planning module. In the first part, a rigorous Bayesian framework is developed for pooling road constraint information and sensor measurement data of a ground vehicle to provide better situational awareness. Consequently, a new multiple targets tracking (MTT) strategy is proposed for solving target tracking problems with nonlinear dynamic systems and additional state constraints. Besides road constraint information, a vehicle movement is generally affected by its surrounding environment known as interaction information. A novel dynamic modelling approach is then proposed by considering the interaction information as virtual force which is constructed by involving the target state, desired dynamics and interaction information. The proposed modelling approach is then accommodated in the proposed MTT strategy for incorporating different types of domain knowledge in a comprehensive manner. In the second part, a new path planning strategy for autonomous vehicles operating in partially known dynamic environment is suggested. The proposed MTT technique is utilized to provide accurate on-board tracking information with associated level of uncertainty. Based on the tracking information, a path planning strategy is developed to generate collision free paths by not only predicting the future states of the moving objects but also taking into account the propagation of the associated estimation uncertainty within a given horizon. To cope with a dynamic and uncertain road environment, the strategy is implemented in a receding horizon fashion.