This paper presents a controller framework for autonomous drifting of a rear wheel drive vehicle. The controller uses a successive loop structure, where yaw rate is treated as a synthetic input to control the vehicle’s sideslip dynamics, and yaw rate is in turn controlled through coordination of steering and rear drive force. Relative to prior designs, the drift controller presented in this work enables a straightforward, physically insightful stability analysis where local closed-loop stability of the desired high sideslip “drift equilibrium” is demonstrated. When implemented on a by-wire testbed, the new controller achieves experimental performance that matches or exceeds prior designs, generating sustained and robust autonomous drifts.

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