Vehicles & Technique
To achieve our research goals we equipped two experimental cars with the necessary technical devices for autonomous driving, a Volkswagen Passat and an Audi Q7. While the Volkswagen Passat is equipped for fully autonomous driving the Audi Q7 serves as mobile sensor platform and as communication partner in cooperative driving.
Due to our research focus in environment perception both vehicles are equipped with a set of sensors, i. e.
- several stereo cameras (both cars)
- a velodyne 3D lidar (Passat only)
- an inertial measurement system combined with a GPS/GLONASS-based localization system (both cars)
- a radar sensor (Passat only)
- communication devices for vehicle-to-vehicle communication (both cars)
Our experimental cars are equipped with state-of-the-art multicore processors, additional processors for vehicle control and communication. An additional battery and power supply are installed in the trunk of the cars. The computers are running on Linux as operation system.
The Volkswagen Passat allows access to the vehicle CAN bus so that we can control the vehicle from the on-board computer. The steering wheel is equipped with an addition steering motor to actuate the steering commands. For security reasons, a safety driver can always override the decisions of the on-board computer manually.
The control software of our car was developed during recent years by our team and evolves continuously. The software framework is based on a real time database which serves as a blackboard for information exchange between different software components. Software modules for sensor interpretation, sensor fusion, behavior generation and control strategies exist as individual programs which are synchronized by the database. A set of monitoring programs allows to visualize the sensory data, the present state of the vehicle and the internal computation.