The MIT – Cornell Collision and Why It Happened
Author(s)Fletcher, Luke Sebastian; Teller, Seth; Olson, Edwin B.; Moore, David C.; Kuwata, Yoshiaki; How, Jonathan P.; Leonard, John Joseph; Miller, Isaac; Campbell, Mark; Huttenlocher, Dan; Nathan, Aaron; Kline, Frank-Robert; ... Show more Show less
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Mid-way through the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge, MIT’s autonomous Land Rover LR3 ‘Talos’ and Team Cornell’s autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe ‘Skynet’ collided in a low-speed accident, one of the first well-documented collisions between two full-size autonomous vehicles. This collaborative study between MIT and Cornell examines the root causes of the collision, which are identified in both teams’ system designs. Systems-level descriptions of both autonomous vehicles are given, and additional detail is provided on sub-systems and algorithms implicated in the collision. A brief summary of robot–robot interactions during the race is presented, followed by an in-depth analysis of both robots’ behaviors leading up to and during the Skynet–Talos collision. Data logs from the vehicles are used to show the gulf between autonomous and human-driven vehicle behavior at low speeds and close proximities. Contributing factors are shown to be: (1) difficulties in sensor data association leading to phantom obstacles and an inability to detect slow moving vehicles, (2) failure to anticipate vehicle intent, and (3) an over emphasis on lane constraints versus vehicle proximity in motion planning. Eye contact between human road users is a crucial communications channel for slow-moving close encounters between vehicles. Inter-vehicle communication may play a similar role for autonomous vehicles; however, there are availability and denial-of-service issues to be addressed.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics : The DARPA Urban Challenge Autonomous Vehicles in City Traffic
Springer Berlin / Heidleberg
Fletcher, Luke et al. “The MIT – Cornell Collision and Why It Happened.” The DARPA Urban Challenge. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, 2009. 509-548.
Author's final manuscript