Title page for ETD etd-09072007-144120

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Brown, William Shaler
Author's Email Address wbrown1@vt.edu
URN etd-09072007-144120
Title Technology for Designing the Steering Subsystem Component of an Autonomous Vehicle
Degree Master of Engineering
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kurdila, Andrew J. Committee Co-Chair
Wicks, Alfred L. Committee Co-Chair
Ferris, John B. Committee Member
Southward, Steve C. Committee Member
  • Steering Subsystem
  • Steering Characterization
  • Control Simulation
  • Autonomous Vehicles
Date of Defense 2007-08-30
Availability unrestricted
Autonomous vehicles offer means to complete unsafe military operations without endangering the lives of soldiers. Such solutions have fueled many efforts towards designing autonomous, or unmanned, systems. Military and academic research efforts alike continue to focus on developing these systems. While many different autonomous vehicles have been introduced, however, such complex systems have limited drive-by-wire operability. The complete process to up-fit a vehicle to fully autonomous operation involves the design, up-fit, testing and verification of many different subsystems. The objective of this thesis is to design and model an autonomous steering system requiring little modifications to an existing steering system. It is desirable to still operate the vehicle manually as well as preserve the vehicle’s visual appearance. Up-fit and implementation of the designed steering system and verification of its functionality has been documented as well. Utilization of the supplied controller and software has enabled the testing and characterization of the system. The proposed design offers a solution to a wide variety of wheeled vehicles steered via the traditional and common steering wheel method. In addition, modifications have been made to an existing simulation of an unmanned vehicle in a military testbed environment (Fort Benning). The simulation accounts for the control methodology as it has been designed and tested with, which offers the ability to analyze the dynamics of the unmanned system.
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