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Visual homing for a car-like vehicle

Usher, Kane (2005) Visual homing for a car-like vehicle. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

This thesis addresses the pose stabilization of a car-like vehicle using omnidirectional visual feedback. The presented method allows a vehicle to servo to a pre-learnt target pose based on feature bearing angle and range discrepancies between the vehicle's current view of the environment and that seen at the learnt location. The best example of such a task is the use of visual feedback for autonomous parallel-parking of an automobile.

Much of the existing work in pose stabilization is highly theoretical in nature with few examples of implementations on 'real' vehicles, let alone vehicles representative of those found in industry. The work in this thesis develops a suitable test platform and implements vision-based pose stabilization techniques. Many of the existing techniques were found to fail due to vehicle steering and velocity loop dynamics, and more significantly, with steering input saturation. A technique which does cope with the characteristics of 'real' vehicles is to divide the task into predefined stages, essentially dividing the state space into sub-manifolds. For a car-like vehicle, the strategy used is to stabilize the vehicle to the line which has the correct orientation and contains the target location. Once on the line, the vehicle then servos to the desired pose. This strategy can accommodate velocity and steering loop dynamics, and input saturation. It can also allow the use of linear control techniques for system analysis and tuning of control gains.

To perform pose stabilization, good estimates of vehicle pose are required. A simple, yet robust, method derived from the visual homing literature is to sum the range vectors to all the landmarks in the workspace and divide by the total number of landmarks--the Improved Average Landmark Vector. By subtracting the IALV at the target location from the currently calculated IALV, an estimate of vehicle pose is obtained. In this work, views of the world are provided by an omnidirectional camera, while a magnetic compass provides a reference direction. The landmarks used are red road cones which are segmented from the omnidirectional colour images using a pre-learnt, two-dimensional lookup table of their colour profile. Range to each landmark is estimated using a model of the optics of the system, based on a flat-Earth assumption. A linked-list based method is used to filter the landmarks over time. Complementary filtering techniques, which combine the vision data with vehicle odometry, are used to improve the quality of the measurements.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16309
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Ridley, Peter& Corke, Peter
Keywords: Mobile robots, nonholonomic systems, control of nonholonomic systems, control of carlike vehicles, pose stabilization, non-linear control, switching control, computer vision, omnidirectional vision, panoramic vision, colour segmentation, object tracking, visual homing
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Department: Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Kane Usher
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 14:00
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:46

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