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"autonomous cars": models, code, and papers

RoadMap: A Light-Weight Semantic Map for Visual Localization towards Autonomous Driving

Jun 04, 2021
Tong Qin, Yuxin Zheng, Tongqing Chen, Yilun Chen, Qing Su

Accurate localization is of crucial importance for autonomous driving tasks. Nowadays, we have seen a lot of sensor-rich vehicles (e.g. Robo-taxi) driving on the street autonomously, which rely on high-accurate sensors (e.g. Lidar and RTK GPS) and high-resolution map. However, low-cost production cars cannot afford such high expenses on sensors and maps. How to reduce costs? How do sensor-rich vehicles benefit low-cost cars? In this paper, we proposed a light-weight localization solution, which relies on low-cost cameras and compact visual semantic maps. The map is easily produced and updated by sensor-rich vehicles in a crowd-sourced way. Specifically, the map consists of several semantic elements, such as lane line, crosswalk, ground sign, and stop line on the road surface. We introduce the whole framework of on-vehicle mapping, on-cloud maintenance, and user-end localization. The map data is collected and preprocessed on vehicles. Then, the crowd-sourced data is uploaded to a cloud server. The mass data from multiple vehicles are merged on the cloud so that the semantic map is updated in time. Finally, the semantic map is compressed and distributed to production cars, which use this map for localization. We validate the performance of the proposed map in real-world experiments and compare it against other algorithms. The average size of the semantic map is $36$ kb/km. We highlight that this framework is a reliable and practical localization solution for autonomous driving.

* IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2021 
  
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Roadside-assisted Cooperative Planning using Future Path Sharing for Autonomous Driving

Aug 10, 2021
Mai Hirata, Manabu Tsukada, Keisuke Okumura, Yasumasa Tamura, Hideya Ochiai, Xavier Défago

Cooperative intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are used by autonomous vehicles to communicate with surrounding autonomous vehicles and roadside units (RSU). Current C-ITS applications focus primarily on real-time information sharing, such as cooperative perception. In addition to real-time information sharing, self-driving cars need to coordinate their action plans to achieve higher safety and efficiency. For this reason, this study defines a vehicle's future action plan/path and designs a cooperative path-planning model at intersections using future path sharing based on the future path information of multiple vehicles. The notion is that when the RSU detects a potential conflict of vehicle paths or an acceleration opportunity according to the shared future paths, it will generate a coordinated path update that adjusts the speeds of the vehicles. We implemented the proposed method using the open-source Autoware autonomous driving software and evaluated it with the LGSVL autonomous vehicle simulator. We conducted simulation experiments with two vehicles at a blind intersection scenario, finding that each car can travel safely and more efficiently by planning a path that reflects the action plans of all vehicles involved. The time consumed by introducing the RSU is 23.0 % and 28.1 % shorter than that of the stand-alone autonomous driving case at the intersection.

* Accepted to IEEE 94th Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC2021-Fall) 
  
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Is it Safe to Drive? An Overview of Factors, Challenges, and Datasets for Driveability Assessment in Autonomous Driving

Nov 27, 2018
Junyao Guo, Unmesh Kurup, Mohak Shah

With recent advances in learning algorithms and hardware development, autonomous cars have shown promise when operating in structured environments under good driving conditions. However, for complex, cluttered and unseen environments with high uncertainty, autonomous driving systems still frequently demonstrate erroneous or unexpected behaviors, that could lead to catastrophic outcomes. Autonomous vehicles should ideally adapt to driving conditions; while this can be achieved through multiple routes, it would be beneficial as a first step to be able to characterize Driveability in some quantified form. To this end, this paper aims to create a framework for investigating different factors that can impact driveability. Also, one of the main mechanisms to adapt autonomous driving systems to any driving condition is to be able to learn and generalize from representative scenarios. The machine learning algorithms that currently do so learn predominantly in a supervised manner and consequently need sufficient data for robust and efficient learning. Therefore, we also perform a comparative overview of 45 public driving datasets that enable learning and publish this dataset index at https://sites.google.com/view/driveability-survey-datasets. Specifically, we categorize the datasets according to use cases, and highlight the datasets that capture complicated and hazardous driving conditions which can be better used for training robust driving models. Furthermore, by discussions of what driving scenarios are not covered by existing public datasets and what driveability factors need more investigation and data acquisition, this paper aims to encourage both targeted dataset collection and the proposal of novel driveability metrics that enhance the robustness of autonomous cars in adverse environments.

  
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TUM Autonomous Motorsport: An Autonomous Racing Software for the Indy Autonomous Challenge

May 31, 2022
Johannes Betz, Tobias Betz, Felix Fent, Maximilian Geisslinger, Alexander Heilmeier, Leonhard Hermansdorfer, Thomas Herrmann, Sebastian Huch, Phillip Karle, Markus Lienkamp, Boris Lohmann, Felix Nobis, Levent Ögretmen, Matthias Rowold, Florian Sauerbeck, Tim Stahl, Rainer Trauth, Frederik Werner, Alexander Wischnewski

For decades, motorsport has been an incubator for innovations in the automotive sector and brought forth systems like disk brakes or rearview mirrors. Autonomous racing series such as Roborace, F1Tenth, or the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) are envisioned as playing a similar role within the autonomous vehicle sector, serving as a proving ground for new technology at the limits of the autonomous systems capabilities. This paper outlines the software stack and approach of the TUM Autonomous Motorsport team for their participation in the Indy Autonomous Challenge, which holds two competitions: A single-vehicle competition on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a passing competition at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Nine university teams used an identical vehicle platform: A modified Indy Lights chassis equipped with sensors, a computing platform, and actuators. All the teams developed different algorithms for object detection, localization, planning, prediction, and control of the race cars. The team from TUM placed first in Indianapolis and secured second place in Las Vegas. During the final of the passing competition, the TUM team reached speeds and accelerations close to the limit of the vehicle, peaking at around 270 km/h and 28 ms2. This paper will present details of the vehicle hardware platform, the developed algorithms, and the workflow to test and enhance the software applied during the two-year project. We derive deep insights into the autonomous vehicle's behavior at high speed and high acceleration by providing a detailed competition analysis. Based on this, we deduce a list of lessons learned and provide insights on promising areas of future work based on the real-world evaluation of the displayed concepts.

* 37 pages, 18 figures, 2 tables 
  
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Track based Offline Policy Learning for Overtaking Maneuvers with Autonomous Racecars

Jul 20, 2021
Jayanth Bhargav, Johannes Betz, Hongrui Zheng, Rahul Mangharam

The rising popularity of driver-less cars has led to the research and development in the field of autonomous racing, and overtaking in autonomous racing is a challenging task. Vehicles have to detect and operate at the limits of dynamic handling and decisions in the car have to be made at high speeds and high acceleration. One of the most crucial parts in autonomous racing is path planning and decision making for an overtaking maneuver with a dynamic opponent vehicle. In this paper we present the evaluation of a track based offline policy learning approach for autonomous racing. We define specific track portions and conduct offline experiments to evaluate the probability of an overtaking maneuver based on speed and position of the ego vehicle. Based on these experiments we can define overtaking probability distributions for each of the track portions. Further, we propose a switching MPCC controller setup for incorporating the learnt policies to achieve a higher rate of overtaking maneuvers. By exhaustive simulations, we show that our proposed algorithm is able to increase the number of overtakes at different track portions.

* Presented at the 1st Workshop "Opportunitites and Challenges for Autonomous Racing" at the 2021 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2021) 
  
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Autonomous Cars: Vision based Steering Wheel Angle Estimation

Jan 30, 2019
Kemal Alkin Gunbay, Mert Arikan, Mehmet Turkan

Machine learning models, which are frequently used in self-driving cars, are trained by matching the captured images of the road and the measured angle of the steering wheel. The angle of the steering wheel is generally fetched from steering angle sensor, which is tightly-coupled to the physical aspects of the vehicle at hand. Therefore, a model-agnostic autonomous car-kit is very difficult to be developed and autonomous vehicles need more training data. The proposed vision based steering angle estimation system argues a new approach which basically matches the images of the road captured by an outdoor camera and the images of the steering wheel from an onboard camera, avoiding the burden of collecting model-dependent training data and the use of any other electromechanical hardware.

* 5 pages, 6 figures 
  
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Optimization-Based Autonomous Racing of 1:43 Scale RC Cars

Nov 20, 2017
Alexander Liniger, Alexander Domahidi, Manfred Morari

This paper describes autonomous racing of RC race cars based on mathematical optimization. Using a dynamical model of the vehicle, control inputs are computed by receding horizon based controllers, where the objective is to maximize progress on the track subject to the requirement of staying on the track and avoiding opponents. Two different control formulations are presented. The first controller employs a two-level structure, consisting of a path planner and a nonlinear model predictive controller (NMPC) for tracking. The second controller combines both tasks in one nonlinear optimization problem (NLP) following the ideas of contouring control. Linear time varying models obtained by linearization are used to build local approximations of the control NLPs in the form of convex quadratic programs (QPs) at each sampling time. The resulting QPs have a typical MPC structure and can be solved in the range of milliseconds by recent structure exploiting solvers, which is key to the real-time feasibility of the overall control scheme. Obstacle avoidance is incorporated by means of a high-level corridor planner based on dynamic programming, which generates convex constraints for the controllers according to the current position of opponents and the track layout. The control performance is investigated experimentally using 1:43 scale RC race cars, driven at speeds of more than 3 m/s and in operating regions with saturated rear tire forces (drifting). The algorithms run at 50 Hz sampling rate on embedded computing platforms, demonstrating the real-time feasibility and high performance of optimization-based approaches for autonomous racing.

* Optimal Control Applications and Methods, 36(5), 2015, pp.628-647 
  
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Failing to Learn: Autonomously Identifying Perception Failures for Self-driving Cars

Jul 26, 2018
Manikandasriram Srinivasan Ramanagopal, Cyrus Anderson, Ram Vasudevan, Matthew Johnson-Roberson

One of the major open challenges in self-driving cars is the ability to detect cars and pedestrians to safely navigate in the world. Deep learning-based object detector approaches have enabled great advances in using camera imagery to detect and classify objects. But for a safety critical application, such as autonomous driving, the error rates of the current state of the art are still too high to enable safe operation. Moreover, the characterization of object detector performance is primarily limited to testing on prerecorded datasets. Errors that occur on novel data go undetected without additional human labels. In this letter, we propose an automated method to identify mistakes made by object detectors without ground truth labels. We show that inconsistencies in the object detector output between a pair of similar images can be used as hypotheses for false negatives (e.g., missed detections) and using a novel set of features for each hypothesis, an off-the-shelf binary classifier can be used to find valid errors. In particular, we study two distinct cues - temporal and stereo inconsistencies - using data that are readily available on most autonomous vehicles. Our method can be used with any camera-based object detector and we illustrate the technique on several sets of real world data. We show that a state-of-the-art detector, tracker, and our classifier trained only on synthetic data can identify valid errors on KITTI tracking dataset with an average precision of 0.94. We also release a new tracking dataset with 104 sequences totaling 80,655 labeled pairs of stereo images along with ground truth disparity from a game engine to facilitate further research. The dataset and code are available at https://fcav.engin.umich.edu/research/failing-to-learn

* 8 pages, 4 figures and 4 tables. Accepted for publication in RA-L and will be presented in IROS 2018 in Madrid, Spain 
  
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End to End Video Segmentation for Driving : Lane Detection For Autonomous Car

Dec 13, 2018
Wenhui Zhang, Tejas Mahale

Safety and decline of road traffic accidents remain important issues of autonomous driving. Statistics show that unintended lane departure is a leading cause of worldwide motor vehicle collisions, making lane detection the most promising and challenge task for self-driving. Today, numerous groups are combining deep learning techniques with computer vision problems to solve self-driving problems. In this paper, a Global Convolution Networks (GCN) model is used to address both classification and localization issues for semantic segmentation of lane. We are using color-based segmentation is presented and the usability of the model is evaluated. A residual-based boundary refinement and Adam optimization is also used to achieve state-of-art performance. As normal cars could not afford GPUs on the car, and training session for a particular road could be shared by several cars. We propose a framework to get it work in real world. We build a real time video transfer system to get video from the car, get the model trained in edge server (which is equipped with GPUs), and send the trained model back to the car.

* arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1806.07226 by other authors 
  
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Gaussian Process-based Stochastic Model Predictive Control for Overtaking in Autonomous Racing

May 25, 2021
Tim Brüdigam, Alexandre Capone, Sandra Hirche, Dirk Wollherr, Marion Leibold

A fundamental aspect of racing is overtaking other race cars. Whereas previous research on autonomous racing has majorly focused on lap-time optimization, here, we propose a method to plan overtaking maneuvers in autonomous racing. A Gaussian process is used to learn the behavior of the leading vehicle. Based on the outputs of the Gaussian process, a stochastic Model Predictive Control algorithm plans optimistic trajectories, such that the controlled autonomous race car is able to overtake the leading vehicle. The proposed method is tested in a simple simulation scenario.

* This work has been accepted to the ICRA 2021 workshop 'Opportunities and Challenges with Autonomous Racing' 
  
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