Mapping 3D Underwater Environments with Smoothed Submaps

TitleMapping 3D Underwater Environments with Smoothed Submaps
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsVanMiddlesworth M, Kaess M, Hover FS, Leonard JJ
Date Publisheddec
Conference LocationBrisbane, Australia

This paper presents a technique for improved mapping of complex underwater environments Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are becoming valuable tools for inspection of underwater infrastructure, and can create 3D maps of their environment using high-frequency profiling sonar However, the quality of these maps is limited by the drift in the vehicle’s navigation system We have developed a technique for simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) by aligning point clouds gathered over a short time scale using the iterative closest point (ICP) algorithm To improve alignment, we have developed a system for smoothing these "submaps" and removing outliers We integrate the constraints from submap alignment into a 6-DOF pose graph, which is optimized to estimate the full vehicle trajectory over the duration of the inspection task We present real-world results using the Bluefin Hovering AUV, as well as analysis of a synthetic data set