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Vision-based topological mapping and localisation

Werner, Felix (2010) Vision-based topological mapping and localisation. .

Abstract

Competent navigation in an environment is a major requirement for an autonomous mobile robot to accomplish its mission. Nowadays, many successful systems for navigating a mobile robot use an internal map which represents the environment in a detailed geometric manner. However, building, maintaining and using such environment maps for navigation is difficult because of perceptual aliasing and measurement noise. Moreover, geometric maps require the processing of huge amounts of data which is computationally expensive. This thesis addresses the problem of vision-based topological mapping and localisation for mobile robot navigation. Topological maps are concise and graphical representations of environments that are scalable and amenable to symbolic manipulation. Thus, they are well-suited for basic robot navigation applications, and also provide a representational basis for the procedural and semantic information needed for higher-level robotic tasks. In order to make vision-based topological navigation suitable for inexpensive mobile robots for the mass market we propose to characterise key places of the environment based on their visual appearance through colour histograms. The approach for representing places using visual appearance is based on the fact that colour histograms change slowly as the field of vision sweeps the scene when a robot moves through an environment. Hence, a place represents a region of the environment rather than a single position. We demonstrate in experiments using an indoor data set, that a topological map in which places are characterised using visual appearance augmented with metric clues provides sufficient information to perform continuous metric localisation which is robust to the kidnapped robot problem. Many topological mapping methods build a topological map by clustering visual observations to places. However, due to perceptual aliasing observations from different places may be mapped to the same place representative in the topological map. A main contribution of this thesis is a novel approach for dealing with the perceptual aliasing problem in topological mapping. We propose to incorporate neighbourhood relations for disambiguating places which otherwise are indistinguishable. We present a constraint based stochastic local search method which integrates the approach for place disambiguation in order to induce a topological map. Experiments show that the proposed method is capable of mapping environments with a high degree of perceptual aliasing, and that a small map is found quickly. Moreover, the method of using neighbourhood information for place disambiguation is integrated into a framework for topological off-line simultaneous localisation and mapping which does not require an initial categorisation of visual observations. Experiments on an indoor data set demonstrate the suitability of our method to reliably localise the robot while building a topological map.

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ID Code: 31815
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Sitte, Joaquin& Maire, Frederic
Keywords: autonomous mobile robot, artificial intelligence, topological navigation, topological localisation, topological mapping, topological simultaneous mapping and localisation (SLAM), visual place identification, connectivity mapping, computer vision, colour histogram, fast vision techniques, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), omnidirectional camera, correspondence problem, perceptual aliasing, odometry
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 15 Apr 2010 16:29
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:55

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