Vision-based simultaneous localization and mapping in changing outdoor environments

Milford, Michael, Vig, Eleonora, Scheirer, Walter, & Cox, David (2014) Vision-based simultaneous localization and mapping in changing outdoor environments. Journal of Field Robotics, 31(5), pp. 780-802.

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For robots operating in outdoor environments, a number of factors, including weather, time of day, rough terrain, high speeds, and hardware limitations, make performing vision-based simultaneous localization and mapping with current techniques infeasible due to factors such as image blur and/or underexposure, especially on smaller platforms and low-cost hardware. In this paper, we present novel visual place-recognition and odometry techniques that address the challenges posed by low lighting, perceptual change, and low-cost cameras. Our primary contribution is a novel two-step algorithm that combines fast low-resolution whole image matching with a higher-resolution patch-verification step, as well as image saliency methods that simultaneously improve performance and decrease computing time. The algorithms are demonstrated using consumer cameras mounted on a small vehicle in a mixed urban and vegetated environment and a car traversing highway and suburban streets, at different times of day and night and in various weather conditions. The algorithms achieve reliable mapping over the course of a day, both when incrementally incorporating new visual scenes from different times of day into an existing map, and when using a static map comprising visual scenes captured at only one point in time. Using the two-step place-recognition process, we demonstrate for the first time single-image, error-free place recognition at recall rates above 50% across a day-night dataset without prior training or utilization of image sequences. This place-recognition performance enables topologically correct mapping across day-night cycles.

Impact and interest:

8 citations in Scopus
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6 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 75745
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1002/rob.21532
ISSN: 1556-4959
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Copyright Statement: This is the accepted version of the following article: Milford, M., Vig, E., Scheirer, W. and Cox, D. (2014), Vision-based Simultaneous Localization and Mapping in Changing Outdoor Environments. J. Field Robotics, 31: 780–802., which has been published in final form at
Deposited On: 28 Aug 2014 23:17
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2015 09:42

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