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Environment learning for indoor mobile robots

AuthorsAndrade-Cetto, Juan
Keywordsmobile robotics
state estimation
[INSPEC] Automation::Robots
Issue Date2003
PublisherUniversidad Politécnica de Cataluña
CitationEnvironment learning for indoor mobile robots. UPC, 2003.
AbstractThis thesis focuses on the various aspects of autonomous environment learning for indoor service robots. Particularly, on landmark extraction from sensor data, autonomous map building, and robot localization. To univocally identify landmarks from sensor data, we study several landmark representations, and the mathematical foundation necessary to extract the features that build them from images and laser range data. The features extracted from just one sensor may not suce in the invariant characterization of landmarks and objects, pushing for the combination of information from multiple sources. We present a new algorithm that fuses complementary information from two low level vision modules into coherent object models that can be tracked and learned in a mobile robotics context. Illumination conditions and occlusions are the most prominent artifacts that hinder data association in computer vision. By using photogrammetric and geometric constraints we restrict the search for landmark matches in successive images, and by locking our interest in one or a set of landmarks in the scene, we track those landmarks along successive frames, reducing considerably the data association problem. We concentrate on those tools from the geometry of multiple views that are relevant to the computation of initial landmark location estimates for coarse motion recovery; a desirable characteristic when odometry is not available or is highly unreliable. Once landmarks are accurately extracted and identied, the second part of the problem is to use these observations for the localization of the robot, as well as the refinement of the landmark location estimates. We consider robot motion and sensor observations as stochastic processes, and treat the problem from an estimation theoretic point of view, dealing with noise by using probabilistic methods. The main drawback we encounter is that current estimation techniques have been devised for static environments, and that they lack robustness in more realistic situations. To aid in those situations in which landmark observations might not be consistent in time, we propose a new set of temporal landmark quality functions, and show how by incorporating these functions in the data association tests, the overall estimation-theoretic approach to map building and localization is improved. The basic idea consists on using the history of data association mismatches for the computation of the likelihood of future data association, together with the spatial compatibility tests already available. Special attention is paid in that the removal of spurious landmarks from the map does not violate the basic convergence properties of the localization and map building algorithms already described in the literature; namely, asymptotic convergence and full correlation.
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