Sensor-based virtual bumpers for collision avoidance: configuration issues

Michael P. Hennessey, Craig Shankwitz, Max Donath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

27 Scopus citations


Most collision avoidance strategies for highway vehicles have primarily been based on control of 1 degree-of-freedom (1 DOF). Such collision avoidance strategies typically use RADAR or other range sensors as a means to servo on the distance between the controlled vehicle and the vehicle in front. However, for large inertia vehicles such as trucks, such strategies which involve engine/transmission or brake control, may likely prove inadequate for avoiding collisions with vehicles on either side or with animals. A 2 DOF strategy involving both steering and speed control conceptually offers significant advantages over 1 DOF strategies. A 2 DOF strategy is introduced that is based on the concept of a virtual bumper. As the name implies, the approach is based on surrounding the perimeter of the vehicle with a sensor-based computer controlled `bumper'. As the bumper's boundary is `deflected,' (i.e. the vehicle's `personal space' is invaded) a virtual force proportional to the amount of deflection is generated. The vehicle controller responds to this virtual force in such a way as to return the bumper to its non-deflected state. Information on the road geometry can also be used to generate a virtual force field to keep the vehicle in its lane. A number of vehicle mounted RADAR units measure the range and range rate between the sensors (mounted and oriented to cover the field around the vehicle) and the obstacle. Using this sensory information and an impedance based control algorithm, the vehicle will attempt to always move away from the obstacle in a controlled manner using both steering and speed control. By integrating local lane/shoulder information and sensor provided data on incursions into the vehicle's personal space, appropriate trajectory displacements are generated based on the virtual force summation. In this paper, we discuss a number of issues that need to be addressed in developing such virtual bumpers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsAlan C. Chachich, Martin J. de Vries
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995
EventCollision Avoidance and Automated Traffic Management Sensors - Philadelphia, PA, USA
Duration: Oct 25 1995Oct 26 1995

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceCollision Avoidance and Automated Traffic Management Sensors
CityPhiladelphia, PA, USA

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