Cold Regions Issues for Off-Road Autonomous Vehicles
ENGINEER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER HANOVER NH COLD REGIONS RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING LAB
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About half of Earths land mass experiences mean temperatures below O deg C during the coldest month. Attendant conditions pose major challenges to the operation of off-road autonomous vehicles. Low-temperature effects on lubricants, materials, and batteries can impair a robots ability to operate at all. Cold starting will be a serious problem if missions require long periods of engine shutdown. Deep snow can easily immobilize vehicles on terrain that would otherwise pose no problems. Blowing snow and icing can also degrade the performance of sensors needed for navigation and target detection. Winter operation of passenger vehicles and construction equipment provides guidance to surmount cold-regions effects on robotic vehicles. This report identifies problems likely to be encountered, simple preventative measures, and references for additional information. Conditions are sufficiently demanding that off-road autonomous vehicles must be designed for and tested in cold regions if they are expected to operate there successfully.
- Surface Transportation and Equipment