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Mapping of indoor environments by robots using low-cost vision sensors

Taylor, Trevor (2009) Mapping of indoor environments by robots using low-cost vision sensors. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

For robots to operate in human environments they must be able to make their own maps because it is unrealistic to expect a user to enter a map into the robot’s memory; existing floorplans are often incorrect; and human environments tend to change. Traditionally robots have used sonar, infra-red or laser range finders to perform the mapping task. Digital cameras have become very cheap in recent years and they have opened up new possibilities as a sensor for robot perception. Any robot that must interact with humans can reasonably be expected to have a camera for tasks such as face recognition, so it makes sense to also use the camera for navigation. Cameras have advantages over other sensors such as colour information (not available with any other sensor), better immunity to noise (compared to sonar), and not being restricted to operating in a plane (like laser range finders). However, there are disadvantages too, with the principal one being the effect of perspective. This research investigated ways to use a single colour camera as a range sensor to guide an autonomous robot and allow it to build a map of its environment, a process referred to as Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). An experimental system was built using a robot controlled via a wireless network connection. Using the on-board camera as the only sensor, the robot successfully explored and mapped indoor office environments. The quality of the resulting maps is comparable to those that have been reported in the literature for sonar or infra-red sensors. Although the maps are not as accurate as ones created with a laser range finder, the solution using a camera is significantly cheaper and is more appropriate for toys and early domestic robots.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 26282
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Geva, Shlomo& Boles, Wageeh
Keywords: computer vision, Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), Concurrent Mapping and Localization (CML), mobile robots
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Jul 2009 14:26
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:53

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