Autonomous Vehicle Control: End-to-end Learning in Simulated Environments
This paper examines end-to-end learning for autonomous vehicles in diverse, simulated environments containing other vehicles, traffic lights, and traffic signs; in weather conditions ranging from sunny to heavy rain. The paper proposes an architecture combing a traditional Convolutional Neural Network with a recurrent layer to facilitate the learning of both spatial and temporal relationships. Furthermore, the paper suggests a model that supports navigational input from the user to facilitate the use of a global route planner to achieve a more comprehensive system. The paper also explores some of the uncertainties regarding the implementation of end-to-end systems. Specifically, how a system’s overall performance is affected by the size of the training dataset, the allowed prediction frequency, and the number of hidden states in the system’s recurrent module. The proposed system is trained using expert driving data captured in various simulated settings and evaluated by its real-time driving performance in unseen simulated environments. The results of the paper indicate that end-to-end systems can operate autonomously in simulated environments, in a range of different weather conditions. Additionally, it was found that using ten hidden states for the system’s recurrent module was optimal. The results further show that the system was sensitive to small reductions in dataset size and that a prediction frequency of 15 Hz was required for the system to perform at its full potential.