The RatSLAM project : robot spatial navigation

Wyeth, Gordon, Milford, Michael, Schulz, Ruth, & Wiles, Janet (2011) The RatSLAM project : robot spatial navigation. In Krichmar, Jeffrey & Wagatsuma, Hiroaki (Eds.) Neuromorphic and Brain-Based Robots. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 87-108.

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Rats are superior to the most advanced robots when it comes to creating and exploiting spatial representations. A wild rat can have a foraging range of hundreds of meters, possibly kilometers, and yet the rodent can unerringly return to its home after each foraging mission, and return to profitable foraging locations at a later date (Davis, et al., 1948). The rat runs through undergrowth and pipes with few distal landmarks, along paths where the visual, textural, and olfactory appearance constantly change (Hardy and Taylor, 1980; Recht, 1988). Despite these challenges the rat builds, maintains, and exploits internal representations of large areas of the real world throughout its two to three year lifetime. While algorithms exist that allow robots to build maps, the questions of how to maintain those maps and how to handle change in appearance over time remain open.

The robotic approach to map building has been dominated by algorithms that optimise the geometry of the map based on measurements of distances to features. In a robotic approach, measurements of distance to features are taken with range-measuring devices such as laser range finders or ultrasound sensors, and in some cases estimates of depth from visual information. The features are incorporated into the map based on previous readings of other features in view and estimates of self-motion. The algorithms explicitly model the uncertainty in measurements of range and the measurement of self-motion, and use probability theory to find optimal solutions for the geometric configuration of the map features (Dissanayake, et al., 2001; Thrun and Leonard, 2008). Some of the results from the application of these algorithms have been impressive, ranging from three-dimensional maps of large urban strucutures (Thrun and Montemerlo, 2006) to natural environments (Montemerlo, et al., 2003).

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ID Code: 47997
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Robot navigation, RatSLAM
ISBN: 9780521768788
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND IMAGE PROCESSING (080100)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Copyright Owner: © Cambridge University Press 2011
Copyright Statement: This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.
Deposited On: 10 Jan 2012 22:38
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2015 16:05

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