Vehicle Control at the Limits of Handling








Many typical drivers end up involved in road accidents due to their inability to control the vehicle at its limits, yet racecar drivers routinely operate the vehicle at its limits without losing control. How is this possible? Two key characteristics that a racecar driver has acquired could potentially provide an explanation. First, a racecar driver has the ability to estimate the friction between the tire and the road surface (see vehicle stabilization at the limits). Second, a racecar driver can utilize all of the actuators to control the vehicle at its limits such as using the throttle and brakes to steer the vehicle, which could be counterintuitive to a typical driver. If a controller could imitate a racecar driver, perhaps this same concept could be applied to a vehicle safety system to assist the driver when the driver is on the verge of losing control. The controller could utilize every actuator to assist the driver, and real-time friction estimation could help predict the control authority that each actuator has. The goal of this research is to create a controller that captures these two key characteristics of a racecar driver.





    • K. Kritayakirana and J.C. Gerdes (2012), “Using the center of percussion to design a steering controller for an autonomous racecar,” Vehicle System Dynamics, Vol. 50, 33-51.
    • K. Kritayakirana and J.C. Gerdes (in press), “Autonomous vehicle control at the limits of handling,” Intl. Journal of Vehicle Autonomous Systems, special issue for 10th Anniversary.
    • K. L. R. Talvala, K. Kritayakirana, and J. Christian Gerdes (2011), 'Pushing the Limits: From Lanekeeping to Autonomous Racing', Annual Reviews in Control, Vol. 35(1), 137-148.

    Conference Papers

    • D. Langer, J. Funke, P. Theodosis, R. Hindiyeh, K. Kritayakirana, J. C. Gerdes, B. Mueller-Bessler, B. Huhnke, M. Hernandez, and G. Stanek (2012), "Up to the Limits: Autonomous Audi TTS," 2012 IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV 2012), Alcalá de Henares, Spain.
    • K. Kritayakirana and J. C. Gerdes (2011), “Using the center of percussion to generate feedforward steering for an autonomous race car,” 22nd International Association for Vehicle System Dynamics (IAVSD) Symposium on Dynamics of Vehicles on Roads and Tracks, Manchester, United Kingdom.
    • K. Kritayakirana, J. C. Gerdes (2010), "Autonomous Cornering at the Limits: Designing a Longitudinal Feedback Controller Using a Tire Slip Circle", In Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Advanced Vehicle Control, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
    • K. Kritayakirana, J. C. Gerdes (2010), "Autonomous Cornering at the Limits: Maximizing a “g-g” Diagram by Using Feedforward Trail-Braking and Throttle-on-Exit", In Proceedings of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Symposium on Advances in Automotive Control, Munich, Germany.
    • Kritayakirana, K. and Gerdes, J.C. (2009), "Controlling an autonomous racing vehicle: Using feedforward and feedback to control steering and speed", ASME 2009 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, Hollywood, California.