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DIGITAL at the Austrian Alpine Robotics Trials (AART)

The experts from DIGITAL presented the PALONA system, which enables the localisation of vehicles using only passive sensors.

Group picture with Prof. Dr. Gerhard Skoff (AVL), BM Mag. Klaudia Tanner, Director Dr. Heinz Mayer and Brigadier Michael Janisch, at the presentation of the latest digital technologies for autonomous off-road use
From left to right: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Skoff (AVL), BM Mag. Klaudia Tanner, Director Dr. Heinz Mayer and Brigadier Michael Janisch, at the presentation of the latest digital technologies for autonomous off-road use. Credit: JOANNEUM RESEARCH / Rüther

 

The Seetaler Alpe military training ground is the ideal place to test automated driving functions under difficult conditions in alpine terrain. For this reason, the Federal Ministry of Defence and Graz University of Technology invited renowned manufacturers and research institutions to a get-together to demonstrate their concepts.

DIGITAL was represented with the PALONA system for passive, infrastructure-free self-localisation. Director Dr. Heinz Mayer presented the advantages of intelligent, digital sensor technologies for robust navigation solutions to the Federal Minister of Defence, Mag. Klaudia Tanner.

 


PALONA - Innovative Technologies for Vehicle Self-Localisation

Offroad Einsatzfahrzeug mit passiver Sensorplattform zur Navigation

Offroad Einsatzfahrzeug mit passiver Sensorplattform zur Navigation, Credit: JOANNEUM RESEARCH / Rüther

Autonomous vehicle navigation in current systems almost always relies on satellite navigation and/or active sensor technology. In a military emergency however, safe systems must function reliably also in situations where GNSS signals are not available. This includes the event of failure, malfunction or deliberate falsification. Therefore the PALONA system purely relies on passive sensors for environmental perception and navigation. Passive sensors work without external infrastructure and enable better camouflage during operations. Against this background, the PALONA project team is developing methods for passive self-localisation based on visual location recognition and inertial navigation.

The result of the project is a sensor platform and methodology that enables automated, passive self-localisation in an infrastructure-free environment. The project is the first of several steps towards automated driving in unpaved areas. Following an established vehicle development processes, a simulation environment will be created in which algorithms can be developed and evaluated.

The coming development steps will include simulation and construction of a "drive-by-wire" capable vehicle chassis, as well as the development of the vehicle control and final system integration. The overall goal is to provide an automated moving vehicle system for the first time, even under the most difficult conditions.

Funding

The research leading to these results has received funding from the FORTE programme. FORTE is a research, technology and innovation funding programme of the Republic of Austria, Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism. The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) has been authorised for the programme management.

 

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