Safety and Stability Analysis of FollowerStopper

Daniel Fishbein (Missouri State University)
 Kreienkamp (University of Notre Dame)

In this paper we prove that the velocity controller, FollowerStopper, is safe and string stable. FollowerStopper is a controller that is meant to be implemented on an autonomous vehicle or in an adaptive cruise control (ACC) system. It takes as inputs the autonomous vehicle's velocity, relative distance to the car in front, relative velocity to the car in front, and a desired velocity.  It then commands a new velocity for the autonomous vehicle which will either be the desired velocity or some lower velocity if that is necessary to maintain a safe distance to the car in front. Through mathematical proof, simulation in Simulink, and hardware in the loop implementation on a real autonomous vehicle through Robot Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo, several results are achieved. It is found that, given a maximum LiDAR range of 81 m, there is a maximum permissible safe speed of the car based on its maximum deceleration, and the car is programmed so that it will never be less than 1 m from the vehicle in front. It is shown that a vehicle with FollowerStopper in a singular lane without merges will not crash and that it will be string stable, effectively dissipating human-caused traffic waves if enough vehicles are deployed in the traffic flow.