RITS - 2019
New Software and Platforms
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
New Software and Platforms
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry

Section: Research Program

Vehicle guidance and autonomous navigation

Participants : Mohammad Abualhoul, Pranav Agarwal, Said Alexander Alvarado Marin, Sylia Baraka, Pierre de Beaucorps, Fares Bessam, Pierre Bourre, Raoul de Charette, Carlos Flores, Farouk Ghallabi, Manuel Gonzalez, Maximilian Jaritz, Manohar Kv, Imane Mahtout, Kathia Melbouci, Kaouther Messaoud, Fawzi Nashashibi, Fabio Pizzati, Renaud Poncelet, Danut Ovidiu Pop, Luis Roldao, Anne Verroust-Blondet, Leonardo Ward, Itheri Yahiaoui.

There are three basic ways to improve the safety of road vehicles and these ways are all of interest to the project-team. The first way is to assist the driver by giving him better information and warning. The second way is to take over the control of the vehicle in case of mistakes such as inattention or wrong command. The third way is to completely remove the driver from the control loop.

All three approaches rely on information processing. Only the last two involve the control of the vehicle with actions on the actuators, which are the engine power, the brakes and the steering. The research proposed by the project-team is focused on the following elements:

  • perception of the environment,

  • planning of the actions,

  • real-time control.

Perception of the road environment

Participants : Raoul de Charette, Maximilian Jaritz, Farouk Ghallabi, Manohar Kv, Kaouther Messaoud, Fawzi Nashashibi, Fabio Pizzati, Danut Ovidiu Pop, Luis Roldao, Anne Verroust-Blondet, Itheri Yahiaoui.

Either for driver assistance or for fully automated guided vehicle purposes, the first step of any robotic system is to perceive the environment in order to assess the situation around itself. Proprioceptive sensors (accelerometer, gyrometer,...) provide information about the vehicle by itself such as its velocity or lateral acceleration. On the other hand, exteroceptive sensors, such as video camera, laser or GPS devices, provide information about the environment surrounding the vehicle or its localization. Obviously, fusion of data with various other sensors is also a focus of the research.

The following topics are already validated or under development in our team:

  • relative ego-localization with respect to the infrastructure, i.e. lateral positioning on the road can be obtained by mean of vision (lane markings) and the fusion with other devices (e.g. GPS);

  • global ego-localization by considering GPS measurement and proprioceptive information, even in case of GPS outage;

  • road detection by using lane marking detection and navigable free space;

  • detection and localization of the surrounding obstacles (vehicles, pedestrians, animals, objects on roads, etc.) and determination of their behavior can be obtained by the fusion of vision, laser or radar based data processing;

  • simultaneous localization and mapping as well as mobile object tracking using laser-based and stereovision-based (SLAMMOT) algorithms.

Scene understanding is a large perception problem. In this research axis we have decided to use only computer vision as cameras have evolved very quickly and can now provide much more precise sensing of the scene, and even depth information. Two types of hardware setups were used, namely: monocular vision or stereo vision to retrieve depth information which allow extracting geometry information.

We have initiated several works:

  • estimation of the ego motion using monocular scene flow. Although in the state of the art most of the algorithms use a stereo setup, researches were conducted to estimate the ego-motion using a novel approach with a strong assumption.

  • bad weather conditions evaluations. Most often all computer vision algorithms work under a transparent atmosphere assumption which assumption is incorrect in the case of bad weather (rain, snow, hail, fog, etc.). In these situations the light ray are disrupted by the particles in suspension, producing light attenuation, reflection, refraction that alter the image processing.

  • deep learning for object recognition. New works are being initiated in our team to develop deep learning recognition in the context of heterogeneous data.

  • deep learning for vehicle motion prediction.

Planning and executing vehicle actions

Participants : Pierre de Beaucorps, Carlos Flores, Imane Mahtout, Fawzi Nashashibi, Renaud Poncelet, Anne Verroust-Blondet.

From the understanding of the environment, thanks to augmented perception, we have either to warn the driver to help him in the control of his vehicle, or to take control in case of a driverless vehicle. In simple situations, the planning might also be quite simple, but in the most complex situations we want to explore, the planning must involve complex algorithms dealing with the trajectories of the vehicle and its surroundings (which might involve other vehicles and/or fixed or moving obstacles). In the case of fully automated vehicles, the perception will involve some map building of the environment and obstacles, and the planning will involve partial planning with periodical recomputation to reach the long term goal. In this case, with vehicle to vehicle communications, what we want to explore is the possibility to establish a negotiation protocol in order to coordinate nearby vehicles (what humans usually do by using driving rules, common sense and/or non verbal communication). Until now, we have been focusing on the generation of geometric trajectories as a result of a maneuver selection process using grid-based rating technique or fuzzy technique. For high speed vehicles, Partial Motion Planning techniques we tested, revealed their limitations because of the computational cost. The use of quintic polynomials we designed, allowed us to elaborate trajectories with different dynamics adapted to the driver profile. These trajectories have been implemented and validated in the JointSystem demonstrator of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) used in the European project HAVEit, as well as in RITS's electrical vehicle prototype used in the French project ABV. HAVEit was also the opportunity for RITS to take in charge the implementation of the Co-Pilot system which processes perception data in order to elaborate the high level command for the actuators. These trajectories were also validated on RITS's cybercars. However, for the low speed cybercars that have pre-defined itineraries and basic maneuvers, it was necessary to develop a more adapted planning and control system. Therefore, we have developed a nonlinear adaptive control for automated overtaking maneuver using quadratic polynomials and Lyapunov function candidate and taking into account the vehicles kinematics. For the global mobility systems we are developing, the control of the vehicles includes also advanced platooning, automated parking, automated docking, etc. For each functionality a dedicated control algorithm was designed (see publication of previous years).