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Computation of Autonomous Safety Maneuvers Using Segmentation and Optimization

This thesis studies motion planning for future autonomous vehicles with main focus on passenger cars. By having automatic steering and braking together with information about the environment, such as other participants in the traffic or obstacles, it would be possible to perform autonomous maneuvers while taking limitations of the vehicle and road–tire interaction into account. Motion planning is performed to find such maneuvers that bring the vehicle from the current state to a desired future state, here by formulating the motion-planning problem as an optimal control problem. There are a number of challenges for such an approach to motion planning; some of them are how to formulate the criterion in the motion planning (objective function in the corresponding optimal control problem), and how to make the solution of motion-planning problems efficient to be useful in online applications. These challenges are addressed in this thesis. As a criterion for motion-planning problems of passenger vehicles on doublelane roads, it is investigated to use a lane-deviation penalty function to capture the observation that it is dangerous to drive in the opposing lane, but safe to drive in the original lane after the obstacle. The penalty function is augmented with certain additional terms to address also the recovery behavior of the vehicle. The resulting formulation is shown to provide efficient and steady maneuvers and gives a lower time in the opposing lane compared to other objective functions. Under varying parameters of the scenario formulation, the resulting maneuvers are changing in a way that exhibits structured characteristics. As an approach to improve efficiency of computations for the motion-planning problem, it is investigated to segment motion planning of the full maneuver into several smaller maneuvers. A way to extract segments is considered from a vehicle dynamics point of view, and it is based on extrema of the vehicle orientation and the yaw rate. The segmentation points determined using this approach are observed to allow efficient splitting of the optimal control problem for the full maneuver into subproblems. Having a method to segment maneuvers, this thesis further studies methods to allow parallel computation of these maneuvers. One investigated method is based on Lagrange relaxation and duality decomposition. Smaller subproblems are formulated, which are governed by solving a low-complexity coordination problem. Lagrangian relaxation is performed on a subset of the dynamic constraints at the segmentation points, while the remaining variables are predicted. The prediction is possible because of the observed structured characteristics resulting from the used lane-deviation penalty function. An alternative approach is based on adoption of the alternating augmented Lagrangian method. Augmentation of the Lagrangian allows to apply relaxation for all dynamic constraints at the segmentation points, and the alternating approach makes it possible to decompose the full problem into subproblems and coordinating their solutions by analytically solving an overall coordination problem. The presented decomposition methods allow computation of maneuvers with high correspondence and lower computational times compared to the results obtained for solving the full maneuver in one step.

Pavel Anistratov


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Last updated: 2021-11-10