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Control and Validation of an Autonomous Drag Racing Vehicle

Journal Article
ISSN: 2641-9637, e-ISSN: 2641-9645
Published April 06, 2021 by SAE International in United States
Control and Validation of an Autonomous Drag Racing Vehicle
Citation: Donikian, V., Bell, J., Khairallah, N., and Washington, G., "Control and Validation of an Autonomous Drag Racing Vehicle," SAE Int. J. Adv. & Curr. Prac. in Mobility 3(4):1710-1725, 2021,
Language: English


This paper studies the implementation and validation of control algorithms for an autonomous drag racing vehicle. The previously developed modeling equations are first implemented with control in a realistic simulation environment complete with synthetic sensor data and decision-making algorithms. The controller is then transformed into an embedded on-board processing unit for on-vehicle testing. Camera, lidar, and radar sensor data are investigated and algorithms are created to provide information from physical sensors rather than synthetic data. The control related to actuation of the steering, brake, throttle, and shifting systems are further discussed, along with human-vehicle interaction in terms of handoff and emergency takeovers. The control algorithms are then validated on the research vehicle. This is demonstrated by completing a fully autonomous quarter-mile drag race, complete with camera detection for the staging sequence and MPC trajectory following. Two additional safety scenarios are presented and controlled: starting the race off center and fishtailing.