Use of virtual reality for teleoperation of autonomous vehicles
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Use of Virtual Reality for Teleoperation of Autonomous Vehicles. Michael A. Steffen Jeffrey D. Will Noriyuki Murakami. 2007 National Conferences on Undergraduate Research April 12-14, 2007. About the Authors. Michael A. Steffen BSME from Valparaiso University, May 2007

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Use of Virtual Reality for Teleoperation of Autonomous Vehicles

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Use of Virtual Reality for Teleoperation of Autonomous Vehicles

Michael A. Steffen

Jeffrey D. Will

Noriyuki Murakami

2007 National Conferences on Undergraduate Research

April 12-14, 2007

About the Authors

  • Michael A. Steffen

    • BSME from Valparaiso University, May 2007

    • BSEE from Valparaiso University, May 2007

  • Dr. Jeffrey D. Will

    • Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Dr. Noriyuki Murakami

    • Japans National Agriculture Research Center

Location of Tests

10,000 Km

The Vehicle

  • Global Position Sensor (GPS)

  • Hydrostatic transmission

  • Fiber optic gyro sensor

  • Wireless Network

  • On board Computer

  • Camera

Introduction to Teleoperation

  • Ability to control a vehicle from a remote location

  • The result is removing the operator from the vehicle

  • How does Teleoperation fit into the future of vehicle automation?

    • Fleet management

    • Human control for special cases not covered by automation

Current System (2D)

  • Provides location of vehicle

    • Birds eye view

    • Uses satellite images

  • Provides control of vehicle implements and movement

Targeted Improvements

  • Provide the operator with more information about the environment and vehicle location

    • Move to a 3-Dimensional virtual environment

      • Further detail about land contours and object shape and locations

    • Large display system

      • View environment and vehicle in 1:1 scale

    • Stereo vision

      • Give the operator the feeling of being on the site of the vehicle

Virtual Reality System at Valparaiso University Scientific Visualization Laboratory (SVL)

  • VisBox-X2

    • 12’ x 9’ screen

    • Passive Stereo

    • wireless head tracker

    • 6 DOF tracked input device

Method Used

  • Need computer models for visualization

    • Environment model

    • Vehicle model

  • Vehicle Model

    • Contains details of the vehicle

Environment Model

  • Contains details of Japans National Agriculture Research Center

  • Texture Map applied to the virtual ground floor was created from Google Maps

  • Building and landscaping objects were placed in the model using Google Maps for location

(2048 X 2048)

Creating a Virtual Environment

  • OpenSceneGraph (OSG) is a 3-D computer graphics toolkit allowing stereo-vision visualization

  • OSG allows for models to be loaded and visualized in a VR environment

  • A transform matrix is applied to the vehicle model allowing for transformations and rotations

Heading Calculations

  • Using previous and current position

    • Problems when vehicle turned about its center

  • Using fiber optic gyro sensor on vehicle and include in communication protocol

Communication Protocol

  • Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

    • Allows the Internet to be used as the network

User Input

Tests and Results

  • Tests were set up to test specific functions along the design

    • Visualization

    • Implement Control

    • Drive

    • High Level Functions

    • Field Test

Visualization Test

  • Tests visualization of vehicle in VR environment

  • Test route was planed (See picture)

  • Vehicle was driven by an onboard operator

Results from test

  • Communication protocol is working

  • Location of the vehicle is visually correct

  • Stereo-vision model is working

Implement Control Test

  • Test communication to the vehicle

  • Test operation of

    • Left/Right blinker

    • Horn

    • Engine On/Off

    • Biter On/Off

High Level Function Test

  • GoTo Function

    • Specify X,Y location from base point

    • Vehicle automatically travels to location

Results from GoTo Function

  • Vehicle did not reach target location

    • Vehicle received correct location and began traveling in target direction

    • Vehicle would stop half way to target location

Driving Test

  • Tests control of vehicle from SVL

  • Test determined that heading is not reliable when calculated from position

Field Test

  • Drive to a specified point and back

  • Field tests

    • Unable to perform due to snow condition in fields


  • This research has demonstrated the feasibility of real-time teleoperation of a semi-autonomous vehicle

  • Immersive environment allows for

    • Increased sense of realization

    • More accurate control

Thank You For Your Time


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