TechTalks from event: Technical session talks from ICRA 2012

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SLAM I

  • On the Number of Local Minima to the Point Feature Based SLAM Problem Authors: Huang, Shoudong; Wang, Heng; Frese, Udo; Dissanayake, Gamini
    Map joining is an efficient strategy for solving feature based SLAM problems. This paper demonstrates that joining of two 2D local maps, formulated as a nonlinear least squares problem has at most two local minima, when the associated uncertainties can be described using spherical covariance matrices. Necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of two minima is derived and it is shown that more than one minimum exists only when the quality of the local maps used for map joining is extremely poor. The analysis explains to some extent why a number of optimization based SLAM algorithms proposed in the recent literature that rely on local search strategies are successful in converging to the globally optimal solution from poor initial conditions, particularly when covariance matrices are spherical. It also demonstrates that the map joining problem has special properties that may be exploited to reliably obtain globally optimal solutions to the SLAM problem.
  • On the Comparison of Uncertainty Criteria for Active SLAM Authors: Carrillo, Henry; Reid, Ian; Castellanos, Jose A.
    In this paper, we consider the computation of the D-optimality criterion as a metric for the uncertainty of a SLAM system. Properties regarding the use of this uncertainty criterion in the active SLAM context are highlighted, and comparisons against the A-optimality criterion and entropy are presented. This paper shows that contrary to what has been previously reported, the D-optimality criterion is indeed capable of giving fruitful information as a metric for the uncertainty of a robot performing SLAM. Finally, through various experiments with simulated and real robots, we support our claims and show that the use of D-opt has desirable effects in various SLAM related tasks such as active mapping and exploration.
  • Continuous-Time Batch Estimation Using Temporal Basis Functions Authors: Furgale, Paul Timothy; Barfoot, Timothy; Sibley, Gabe
    Roboticists often formulate estimation problems in discrete time for the practical reason of keeping the state size tractable. However, the discrete-time approach does not scale well for use with high-rate sensors, such as inertial measurement units or sweeping laser imaging sensors. The difficulty lies in the fact that a pose variable is typically included for every time at which a measurement is acquired, rendering the dimension of the state impractically large for large numbers of measurements. This issue is exacerbated for the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) problem, which further augments the state to include landmark variables. To address this tractability issue, we propose to move the full maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) problem into continuous time and use temporal basis functions to keep the state size manageable. We present a full probabilistic derivation of the continuous-time estimation problem, derive an estimator based on the assumption that the densities and processes involved are Gaussian, and show how coefficients of a relatively small number of basis functions can form the state to be estimated, making the solution efficient. Our derivation is presented in steps of increasingly specific assumptions, opening the door to the development of other novel continuous-time estimation algorithms using different assumptions. Results from a self-calibration experiment involving a camera and a high-rate IMU are provided to validate the approach.
  • SLAM with Single Cluster PHD Filters Authors: Lee, Chee Sing; Clark, Daniel; Salvi, Joaquim
    Recent work by Mullane, Vo, and Adams has re-examined the probabilistic foundations of feature-based Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), casting the problem in terms of filtering with random finite sets. Algorithms were developed based on Probability Hypothesis Density (PHD) filtering techniques that provided superior performance to leading feature-based SLAM algorithms in challenging mea- surement scenarios with high false alarm rates, high missed detection rates, and high levels of measurement noise. We investigate this approach further by considering a hierarchical point process, or single-cluster multi-object, model, where we consider the state to consist of a map of landmarks conditioned on a vehicle state. Using Finite Set Statistics, we are able to find tractable formulae to approximate the joint vehicle-landmark state based on a single Poisson multi-object assumption on the predicted density. We describe the single-cluster PHD filter and the practical implementation developed based on a particle-system representation of the vehicle state and a Gaussian mixture approximation of the map for each particle. Synthetic simulation results are presented to compare the novel algorithm against the previous PHD filter SLAM algorithm. Results presented indicate a superior performance in vehicle and map landmark localization, and comparable performance in landmark cardinality estimation.
  • Simultaneous Localization and Scene Reconstruction with Monocular Camera Authors: Huang, Kuo- Chen; Tseng, Shih-Huan; Mou, Wei-Hao; Fu, Li-Chen
    In this paper, we propose an online scene recon- struction algorithm with monocular camera since there are many advantages on modeling and visualization of an environ- ment with physical scene reconstruction instead of resorting to sparse 3D points. The goal of this algorithm is to simultaneously track the camera position and map the 3D environment, which is close to the spirit of visual SLAM. There’re plenty of visual SLAM algorithms in the current literature which can provide a high accuracy performance, but many of them rely on stereo cameras. It’s true that we’ll face many more challenges to accomplish this task with monocular camera. However, the advantages of cheaper and easier deployable hardware setting have made monocular approach more attractive. Specifically, we apply a maximum a posteriori Bayesian approach with optimization technique to simultaneously track the camera and build a dense point cloud. We also propose a feature expansion method to expand the density of points, and then online reconstruct the scene with a delayed approach. Furthermore, we utilize the reconstructed model to accomplish visual localization task without extracting the features. Finally, a number of experiments have been conducted to validate our proposed approach, and promising performance can be observed.
  • Rhythm-based Adaptive Localization in Incomplete RFID Landmark Environments Authors: Kodaka, Kenri; Ogata, Tetsuya; Sugano, Shigeki
    This paper proposes a novel hybrid-structured model for the adaptive localization of robots combining a stochastic localization model and a rhythmic action model, for avoiding vacant spaces of landmarks efficiently. In regularly arranged landmark environments, robots may not be able to detect any landmarks for a long time during a straight-like movement. Consequently, locally diverse and smooth movement patterns need to be generated to keep the position estimation stable. Conventional approaches aiming at the probabilistic optimization cannot rapidly generate the detailed movement pattern due to a huge computational cost; therefore a simple but diverse movement structure needs to be introduced as an alternative option. We solve this problem by combining a particle filter as the stochastic localization module and the dynamical action model generating a zig-zagging motion. The validation experiments, where virtual-line-tracing tasks are exhibited on a floor-installed RFID environment, show that introducing the proposed rhythm pattern can improve a minimum error boundary and a velocity performance for arbitrary tolerance errors can be improved by the rhythm amplitude adaptation fed back by the localization deviation.