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Modeling and Design of an Autonomous High Speed ¼ Mile Vehicle

  • Author(s): Bell, Joseph
  • Advisor(s): Washington, Gregory N
  • et al.

This work outlines the design, modeling and development of a competition eliminator dragster which is a specialized vehicle built to compete in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). A simple control strategy was also developed once the vehicle model was validated. Towards that end, redundant braking, steering, throttle and shifting systems were all designed, modeled, and then implemented in vehicle. Three sensor systems (camera, radar, lidar) were also integrated into the vehicle to enable the vehicle to know its position relative to the track, and its external environment. All these systems were developed and designed such that the vehicle could be autonomous but seamlessly overridden by an in-vehicle driver. The performance of these systems was then validated on the research vehicle. This was demonstrated by completing a fully autonomous quarter mile drag race, complete with camera detection for the staging sequence and trajectory following. Two additional safety scenarios are presented and controlled: starting the race off center and fishtailing.

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