Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2014.

First Advisor

Christopher Kitts


The goal of this project was to build an autonomous vehicle testbed for the Robotics Systems Laboratory. This testbed will be used by undergraduate, graduate, and faculty researchers to test different control methods, sensor combinations, vehicle control laws, and eventually autonomous navigation. This paper documents our accomplishments to achieve this goal; we built a hierarchical control system, robust actuator mounts, and an effective safety system. The result is a capable 6-wheeled offroad vehicle that can be electronically controlled by remote or directly by wire. A feed-forward control law was incorporated for speed control, yielding predictable performance given a desired speed. Actuators were tuned for fast, reliable response and wiring was kept organized. The team believes the vehicle will be a useful asset to the Robotic Systems Lab for future research. To improve upon our testbed, global positioning and a compass should be integrated along with other sensors that came with the vehicle such as a Lidar unit. With these additional components, the vehicle should be able to run autonomously.