Date Presented

Spring 5-3-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Access Type

1

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Dr. William Roach

Second Advisor

Dr. Crystal Moorman

Third Advisor

Dr. Nancy Cowden

Abstract

Automation of various modes of transportation is thought to make travel more safe and efficient. Over the past several decades advances to semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles have led to advanced autopilot systems on planes and boats and an increasing popularity of self-driving cars. We simulated the motion of an autonomous vehicle using computational models. The simulation models the motion of a small-scale watercraft, which can then be built and programmed using an Arduino Microcontroller. We examined different control methods for a simulated rescue craft to reach a target. We also examined the effects of different factors, such as various biases (which would be analogous to a current of water) and various initial separation distances, on the time it takes the simulated rescue craft to reach the target. The simulations suggested that it is most efficient to continually correct the direction of the simulated rescue craft for movement of the target when the object is moving at random. We predict that these simulations can model not only the small-scale watercraft but also full-size boats. Self-driving technology used here can be applicable in search-and-rescue missions where conditions may be too harsh for human-controlled watercraft and impractical for remote-controlled watercraft. This experiment also raises new questions in methods of control that can utilize machine learning to detect patterns of a moving target.

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