Alice: An information-rich autonomous vehicle for high-speed desert navigation

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C Rasmussen, A Stewart, J Burdick, Richard M Murray
Journal of Field Robotics, 23(9):777-810

This paper describes the implementation and testing of Alice, the California Institute of Technology’s entry in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. Alice utilizes a highly networked control system architecture to provide high performance, autonomous driving in unknown en- vironments. Innovations include a vehicle architecture designed for efficient testing in harsh environments, a highly sensory-driven approach to fuse sensor data into speed maps used by real-time trajectory optimization algorithms, health and contingency management algorithms to manage failures at the component and system level, and a software logging and display envi- ronment that enables rapid assessment of performance during testing. The system successfully completed several runs in the National Qualifying Event, but encountered a combination of sens- ing and control issues in the Grand Challenge Event that led to a critical failure after traversing approximately 8 miles.