Craig Shankwitz, Director, Intelligent Vehicles Lab, Mechanical Engineering
Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS) are susceptible to outages due to blocked or missing satellite signals and/or blocked or missing DGPS correction messages. Outages arise primarily because of environmental reasons: passing under bridges, passing under overhead highway signs, adjacent foliage, etc. Generally, these outages are spatially deterministic and can be accurately predicted. These outages distract drivers using DGPS-based driver-assistive systems and limit system robustness. Inertial measurements have been proposed as an augmentation for DGPS. Tests have shown that error rates for even emerging technologies are still too high; a vehicle can maintain lane position for less than three to four seconds. Ring laser gyros can do the job, but $100K per axis is still too expensive for road-going vehicles. To provide robust vehicle positioning in the face of DGPS outages, the IV Lab at the Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute has developed a technique by which a non-contact, 2D true ground velocity sensor is used to guide the vehicle. Although far from fully developed, the system can maintain vehicle position within a lane for GPS outages of up to 20 seconds. New dual frequency, carrier phase DGPS systems generally require less than 20 seconds to acquire a "fix" solution after a GPS outage, so the performance of this system should be adequate for augmentation. Proposed herein is basic research that may lead to the development of an inexpensive, 2D, non-contact velocity sensor optimized for vehicle guidance during periods of DGPS outages.