This paper presents a systematic method on how to design the coordinated lateral and longitudinal motion control system of autonomous four wheel drive (4WD) electric vehicles for platooning and trajectory tracking. First, mathematical models that perfectly describe the behaviors of autonomous 4WD vehicles are built-up, and the coupled effects in vehicle dynamic systems are given. Second, owing to the fact that autonomous vehicles are large-scale systems with strong coupling, nonlinearities, and uncertainties, a novel multi-objective hierarchical architecture used for coordinated lateral and longitudinal motion control is constructed, which is composed of a global cooperative control layer, a control allocation layer, and an action execution layer. A robust backstepping sliding mode controller (RBSMC) is presented in the cooperative control layer to provide the resultant forces/moment. The control allocation layer is designed using interior-point (IP) algorithm to determine the tire lateral and longitudinal forces, which result in the desired resultant forces/moment. The action execution layer consists of an inverse tire model, a slip ratio regulator for each wheel, and a slip angle regulator. Finally, simulation experiments are carried out under adverse driving conditions, and the results show that the proposed control architecture not only possesses excellent tracking performance but also enhances the riding comfort, stability, and safety of autonomous 4WD electric vehicles.

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