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Imagine two cars traveling together on the highway, one in front of the next. The lead vehicle follows the road as it travels and the second not only follows the road but also follows the first car. The lead vehicle sets the pace for the two cars traveling together and determines any turns or lane changes that occur. The second car in turn mimics the first, thus creating a platoon, so to speak. The platooning concept is very similar to this real life situation, only the second vehicle would follow the first without any human intervention. In the platooning demonstration the lead vehicle will be permitted to drive freely in an open space at a constant speed and make gentle turns. The following vehicle will trail the lead vehicle by a set distance and follow the same path as the lead vehicle. The lead vehicle will be controlled via an R/C link and the second car will follow using a combination of sensors and a micro controller.

Ideally, this project will be followed by the coming years' classes with the addition of more features. Our task is to build the foundation for a project that will be expandable and easily modified to fit the needs of future design requests. This was taken into consideration when it came to the composition of the report and the web page. Everything is very well documented and easily accessible to allow future classes to have a starting point for their additions without having to re-design or reverse engineer any work that we have done thus far. With the addition of features such as vision and obstacle recognition by future classes, this project will be closer to something that can be applied in tomorrow's way of life. All the while, the project will be an interesting and valuable learning tool for senior electrical engineering students at the University of Detroit - Mercy.



Design two vehicles to demonstrate the platooning concept. Platooning in our case is defined as one vehicle following another vehicle and mimicking its motions. The trailing vehicle will stay a predetermined distance away from the lead vehicle and try to follow a path similar to that of the lead vehicle. The lead vehicle is controlled via a standard R/C link using speed encoders and a Motorola 68HC12 to process encoder data. The trailing vehicle is autonomously controlled using a 68HC12 microcontroller, speed encoders, and ultrasonic ranging sensor technology. Both vehicles use a RF serial modem to communicate back to a main computer which collects and processes data during the platooning demonstration.