Lessons Learned from Deploying Autonomous Vehicles at UC San Diego


While most autonomous driving efforts reported are directed for general driving and mainly on major roads, there are numerous applications for autonomous vehicles for last mile mobility–from person mobility and mail delivery to flexible recharging of cars in parking structures. Over the last year, we have designed vehicles for the micro-mobility challenge. Our approach was based on adoption of the open source Autoware system. The system was taken as a starting point for the design of a robust solution. Proposed requirements include a robust control design, a shift towards increased use of image data over LiDAR data, handling of a richer set of vehicles / pedestrians in a last mile scenario, and overall system characterization and evaluation. We present an overview of the overall design and the design decisions for construction of vehicles for last-mile delivery.

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Self-Driving Mail Delivery Begins on Campus

As part of a campus wide collaboration with UCSD’s Fleet Services, Logistics, Mailing Center, and Police Department, AVL has deployed two self-driving vehicles that are being actively used for research with applications for mail delivery. During summer 2019, AVL’s vehicles completed missions to multiple campus mailing center locations including Warren and Sixth colleges. Unlike current self-driving car applications, many of the routes tested consist of pedestrian and vehicle interactions in unstructured environments that are under constant construction. Given the complexity of campus topology and interaction scenarios, the data collected is being evaluated to benchmark performance and long term autonomy.