Autonomous (self-driving) electric vehicles have the potential to improve traffic patterns, reduce energy usage, and improve safety.
ORNL has developed a living laboratory to accelerate the development of electric vehicles and connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies. GROVER (Ground-based Robotic Omnidirectional Vehicle for Electric Research) is a small robotic autonomous platform that uses pulsed laser sensors to move in any direction, with four wheels operating independently, rotating a full 360 degrees. The autonomous bus has a 3D-printed body, created at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, and can seat up to 12 people. GROVER’s underlying platform is designed for maneuvering in tight spaces, providing the freedom to move diagonally, sideways, forward, backward and any degree in between.
GROVER’s unique mobility platform, originally designed by ORNL to move materials onboard vessels, provides transportation researchers a foundation for developing complex controls. The bus serves as a testbed to develop and evaluate emerging technologies for sensors and controls. Ongoing research will incorporate machine vision and machine learning applications into GROVER’s mobility platform, creating new models for future robotics and transportation systems.