Junior, the robotic car, learns to slide park (w/ Video)

May 11, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
Stanford Racing Team's "Junior"

(PhysOrg.com) -- "Junior," an autonomous car developed by the Stanford Racing Team, has been taught how to park itself -- by putting itself into reverse, accelerating up to 25 miles per hour, and then suddenly braking while turning the wheel sharply, which starts it on a 180-degree spinning slide right into the parking spot.

Video of the robotic ’s procedure was shown at the 2010 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Anchorage, Alaska last week. The car can reliably and repeatedly park itself in this way.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Junior was introduced to the world in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge in 2007, where the car drove almost flawlessly and came second. Since then the team have been working on teaching Junior to do more complex maneuvers. In normal driving along a straight line the car’s computer adjusts the car’s brakes, steering and fuel systems with a closed-loop system using data from sensors built into the car, but the dynamics are much harder to predict and model in a complex maneuver such as spinning and sliding into a parking spot.

The team then tried an open-loop process in which they simply repeated the control inputs from the slide parking section of the demonstration to try to end up with the car in the same place each time. The problem with this method was there was no correction of errors when the car was traveling in a straight line, and this could change the car’s final position.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

To teach Junior the stunt the team then combined the two methods, using the closed-loop control while the car was approaching, and then smoothly switching to open-loop control for the spin and slide into position. The decision about when to switch between the two modes of operation was made by the car’s software, based on observation, and the final result impressively and reliably places the car exactly where it is supposed to be.

The parking stunt has a serious side, since it aims to give the robotic car more flexibility in emergencies or unexpected situations. The annual aims to help developers design autonomous vehicles for military uses. It features robotic vehicles executing various maneuvers in a simulated city environment.

Explore further: Lifting the brakes on fuel efficiency

More information: Stanford Racing Team page: cs.stanford.edu/group/roadrunner

Related Stories

Scientist creates formula for perfect parking

Dec 11, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Forget roasting a textbook turkey or perfect present-wrapping this month. The real test of Britons’ mettle will come as we try to park in tight spots on busy roads, with 35 million of us ...

Design chosen for British 1,000 mph car (w/ Video)

Nov 25, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A British team hoping to be the first to get a car to 1,000 mph (1,610 km/h) has made its final design selection. The six-tonne car, known as the Bloodhound, will be powered by a Eurofighter ...

Self-driving car will get smarter

Oct 06, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although Cornell's self-driving car didn't win the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007, it is alive and well and soon to become safer and more talented -- it will soon be a test bed for new research ...

Recommended for you

Lifting the brakes on fuel efficiency

Apr 18, 2014

The work of a research leader at Michigan Technological University is attracting attention from Michigan's Governor as well as automotive companies around the world. Xiaodi "Scott" Huang of Michigan Tech's ...

Large streams of data warn cars, banks and oil drillers

Apr 16, 2014

Better warning systems that alert motorists to a collision, make banks aware of the risk of losses on bad customers, and tell oil companies about potential problems with new drilling. This is the aim of AMIDST, the EU project ...

User comments : 8

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (7) May 11, 2010
I can't wait until driving is taken care of by computers, or public transportation becomes the definitive standard everywhere.
5 / 5 (4) May 11, 2010
"Welcome to AutoDrive. Please choose your AutoDrive style: "Granny Mode", "Model Citizen Mode", "Drunk Yahoo Mode"."
not rated yet May 11, 2010
yeah, but can the computer do it as funny as ace ventura pet detective?
not rated yet May 11, 2010
No, officer, I was not driving my car the wrong way. The computer of this autonomous vehicle was forced to drive the car the wrong way. It is the only way the computer guidance system on this car can parallel park.

1 / 5 (2) May 12, 2010
now the only thing they have left to do is to use voice analysis software to teach engineering students how to speak without a lisp.
not rated yet May 14, 2010
And what do they do when the coefficient of friction in the area of a parking space changes enough to cause a really nice 3-car accident? Please, somebody argue why anybody would have their robot car auto-park in this manner?
not rated yet May 15, 2010

Hollywood may want such technology for dangerous stunts. Wheeled service or warehouse robots may use the same method when a certain movement requires agility. It may have an application totally outside of consumer vehicles, you can never know.
not rated yet May 17, 2010
Thats the future of the car on the road by 2030! Autonomous vehicle see link...


More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...