Title page for ETD etd-05072008-112601

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Alberi, Thomas James
Author's Email Address talberi@vt.edu
URN etd-05072008-112601
Title A Proposed Standardized Testing Procedure for Autonomous Ground Vehicles
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wicks, Alfred L. Committee Chair
Reinholtz, Charles F. Committee Co-Chair
Hong, Dennis W. Committee Member
  • software validation
  • autonomous vehicles
  • urban challenge
Date of Defense 2008-04-29
Availability unrestricted
Development of unmanned vehicles will increase as the need to save lives rises. In both military and civilian applications, humans can be taken out of the loop through the implementation of safe and intelligent autonomous vehicles. Although hardware and software development continue to play a large role in the autonomous vehicle industry, validation of these systems will always be necessary. The ability to test these vehicles thoroughly and efficiently will ensure their proper and flawless operation.

On November 3, 2007 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency held the Urban Challenge to drive the development of autonomous ground vehicles for military use. This event required vehicles built by teams across the world to autonomously navigate a 60 mile course in an urban environment in less than 6 hours. This thesis addresses the testing aspect of autonomous ground vehicles that exhibit the advanced behaviors necessary for operating in such an event. Specifically, the experiences of Team Victor Tango and other Urban Challenge teams are covered in detail. Testing facilities, safety measures, procedures, and validation methods utilized by these teams provide valuable information on the development of their vehicles. Combining all these aspects results in a proposed testing strategy for autonomous ground vehicles.

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