Date of Award:

7-2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Chris Winstead

Abstract

Vehicle platoons are efficient, closely-spaced groups of robotically controlled vehicles which travel at high speeds down the road, similar to carts in a train. Within this thesis, a promising control algorithm for vehicle platooning is explored. The control algorithm was previously demonstrated in a sterile setting which significantly reduced the challenges facing full-scale implementation of platoons, most notably loss of shared data and imprecision within the data. As found within this work, transmission loss and imprecise position, velocity, and acceleration data significantly degraded the control algorithm's performance. Vehicles in the platoon became more closely spaced, changed speeds more frequently, and expended far more energy than necessary. Introducing a measure of each following vehicle's position with respect to the lead vehicle into the control algorithm noticeably reduced platoon contraction. Adjusting the control algorithm's responsiveness based on what data was successfully received reduced the speed-variations by vehicles. Finally, using past behavior to predict the next acceleration reduced the energy used by each vehicle. Combining these modifications with a model of the proposed communication scheme shows platoons of up to 25 vehicles are feasible.

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