Safe nonlinear trajectory generation for parallel autonomy with a dynamic vehicle model

Wilko Schwarting, Javier Alonso-Mora, Liam Paull, Sertac Karaman, Daniela Rus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)


High-end vehicles are already equipped with safety systems, such as assistive braking and automatic lane following, enhancing vehicle safety. Yet, these current solutions can only help in low-complexity driving situations. In this paper, we introduce a parallel autonomy, or shared control, framework that computes safe trajectories for an automated vehicle, based on human inputs. We minimize the deviation from the human inputs while ensuring safety via a set of collision avoidance constraints. Our method achieves safe motion even in complex driving scenarios, such as those commonly encountered in an urban setting. We introduce a receding horizon planner formulated as nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC), which includes the analytic descriptions of road boundaries and the configuration and future uncertainties of other road participants. The NMPC operates over both steering and acceleration simultaneously. We introduce a nonslip model suitable for handling complex environments with dynamic obstacles, and a nonlinear combined slip vehicle model including normal load transfer capable of handling static environments. We validate the proposed approach in two complex driving scenarios. First, in an urban environment that includes a left-turn across traffic and passing on a busy street. And second, under snow conditions on a race track with sharp turns and under complex dynamic constraints. We evaluate the performance of the method with various human driving styles. We consequently observe that the method successfully avoids collisions and generates motions with minimal intervention for parallel autonomy. We note that the method can also be applied to generate safe motion for fully autonomous vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2994-3008
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Volume19 (2018)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Acceleration
  • Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)
  • collision avoidance
  • intelligent vehicles
  • Load modeling
  • motion planning
  • parallel autonomy
  • Roads
  • Safety
  • shared control
  • Trajectory
  • trajectory generation
  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Vehicles


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