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Evaluating mobility vs. latency in unmanned ground vehicles

David J. Gorsich, Paramsothy Jayakumar, Michael P. Cole, Cory M. Crean, Abhinandan Jain, Tulga Ersal

Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 80, 2018, Pages 11-19, ISSN 0022-489

Abstract: As the penetration levels of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) in military applications increase, there is a growing need to evaluate their mobility across different latencies and various modes of operation ranging from pure teleoperation to full autonomy. State-of-the-art tools to evaluate mobility of ground vehicles do not address this need due to their not accounting for UGV technologies and the associated latencies. Although the trade-off between latency and performance has been thoroughly studied in the telerobotics literature and the results may qualitatively shed light onto the UGV domain, as well, a quantitative generalization is not possible due to the differences in context. Recognizing this gap, this paper presents a functional relationship between mobility and latency in high-speed, teleoperated UGVs under the context of path following. Specifically, data from human-in-the-loop simulations performed in this paper are combined with data from prior studies to span three vehicle types, three courses, and teleoperation latencies ranging from 0 s to 1 s. This combination yields for the first time a diverse data set for the context of path following in high speed, teleoperated UGVs. Based on this data set, empirical relationships are derived to quantify the trade-off between latency versus average speed and lane keeping error. These relationships can be used to establish a benchmark to evaluate the performance of autonomy-enabled UGV systems.

Keywords: Mobility; Latency; Unmanned ground vehicles; Teleoperation