Autonomous Shadow Vehicle Project: Phase IAuthor/Presenter: Heller, Mahlon; Al-Kazily, Joan; Bayard, Jean-Pierre
The subject of this report is the research performed to determine the feasibility of designing and constructing a prototype autonomous Shadow Vehicle that follows a Lead Maintenance Vehicle for use in highway maintenance operations to protect highway maintenance personnel from injury by highspeed highway vehicles. An autonomous Shadow Vehicle is driverless and follows a Lead Maintenance Vehicle. Hence, personnel who would normally be driving a Shadow Vehicle are removed from potential danger and injury. Furthermore, highway maintenance productivity is increased. The research results presented are: (1) the identification of current Shadow Operations and the highway geometric parameters and operational characteristics that must be considered by the tracking systems of an autonomous Shadow Vehicle, (2) the identification of current Shadow Operations in which an autonomous Shadow Vehicle could be used, (3) comparison and evaluation of technologies that potentially could be used for designing a tracking system(s) for an autonomous Shadow Vehicle, (4) a conceptual design of an Antenna Array Tracking Systems, a Relative GPS Tracking System, and a Machine Vision Tracking System, (5) the design and simulation of control systems to control the steering, throttle, and brake actuators of an autonomous Shadow Vehicle, and (6) a Tracking System recommendation that proposes the use of the Antenna, GPS, and Vision tracking systems for redundancy and safety of operation.