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An uncertainty estimation method for 6 degree of freedom (6-DoF) spectral registration is introduced here. The underlying 6-DoF registration method based on Phase Only Matched Filtering (POMF) is capable of dealing with very noisy sensor data. It is hence well suited for 3D underwater mapping, where relatively inaccurate sonar imaging devices have to be employed. An uncertainty estimation method is required to use this registration method in a Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) framework. To our knowledge, the first such method for 6-DoF spectral registration is presented here. This new uncertainty estimation method treats the POMF results as probability mass functions (PMF). Due to the decoupling in the underlying method, yaw is computed by a one-dimensional POMF leading hence to a 1D PMF; roll and pitch are simultaneously computed and hence encoded in a 2D PMF. Furthermore, a 3D PMF is generated for the translation as it is determined by a 3D POMF. A normal distribution is fitted on each of the PMF to get the uncertainty estimate. The method is experimentally evaluated with simulated as well as real world sonar data. It is shown that it indeed can be used for SLAM, which significantly improves the map quality.

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