Motion Planning in Urban Environments

Dave Ferguson*, Thomas Howard**, and Maxim Likhachev***

*Intel Research Pittsburgh, **Carnegie Mellon University, ***University of Pennsylvania



We present the motion planning framework for an autonomous vehicle navigating through urban environments. Such environments present a number of motion planning challenges, including ultra-reliability, high-speed operation, complex inter-vehicle interaction, parking in large unstructured lots, and constrained maneuvers. Our approach combines a model-predictive trajectory generation algorithm for computing dynamically-feasible actions with two higher-level planners for generating long range plans in both on-road and unstructured areas of the environment. In the first part of this article, we describe the underlying trajectory generator and the on-road planning component of this system. We then describe the unstructured planning component of this system used for navigating through parking lots and recovering from anomalous on-road scenarios. Throughout, we provide examples and results from Boss, an autonomous SUV that has driven itself over 3000 kilometers and competed in, and won, the Urban Challenge.


Keywords: navigation, motion planning, urban challenge.