A Hybrid Control Design for Autonomous Vehicles at Uncontrolled Intersections

Nitin R. Kapania, Vijay Govindarajan, Francesco Borrelli, J. Christian Gerdes

As autonomous vehicles (AVs) inch closer to reality, a central requirement for acceptance will be earning the trust of humans in everyday driving situations. In particular, the interaction between AVs and pedestrians is of high importance, as every human is a pedestrian at some point of the day. This paper considers the interaction of a pedestrian and an autonomous vehicle at a mid-block, unsignalized intersection where there is ambiguity over when the pedestrian should cross and when and how the vehicle should yield. By modeling pedestrian behavior through the concept of gap acceptance, the authors show that a hybrid controller with just four distinct modes allows an autonomous vehicle to successfully interact with a pedestrian across a continuous spectrum of possible crosswalk entry behaviors. The controller is validated through extensive simulation and compared to an alternate POMDP solution and experimental results are provided on a research vehicle for a virtual pedestrian.

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