The Virtual Bumper: A Control Based Collision Avoidance System for Highway Vehicles


William Schiller, Max Donath

October 1997

Report no. Mn/DOT 1998-30

This report summarizes research on a new collision avoidance strategy, the 'virtual bumper.' The research involves development and simulation testing of the virtual bumper, a two-dimensional control strategy that provides steering, throttle, and braking actuation to maneuver a vehicle in a dynamic environment with the goal of avoiding obstacles and other vehicles. The concept applies to both normal and emergency driving conditions. Under all circumstances, the virtual bumper incorporates vehicle dynamic limits to ensure that the control commands are within safe levels. The virtual bumper will attempt to avoid a collision and will, at least, minimize the magnitude of an unavoidable collision.

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