Mapping Partially Observable Features from Multiple Uncertain Vantage Points

TitleMapping Partially Observable Features from Multiple Uncertain Vantage Points
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsLeonard JJ, Rikoski RR, Newman PM, Bosse M

In this paper we present a technique for mapping partially observable features from multiple uncertain vantage points. The problem of concurrent mapping and localization (CML) is stated as follows. Starting from an initial known position, a mobile robot travels through a sequence of positions, obtaining a set of sensor measurements at each position. The goal is to process the sensor data to produce an estimate of the trajectory of the robot while concurrently building a map of the environment. In this paper, we describe a generalized framework for CML that incorporates temporal as well as spatial correlations. The representation is expanded to incorporate past vehicle positions in the state vector. Estimates of the correlations between current and previous vehicle states are explicitly maintained. This enables the consistent initialization of map features using data from multiple time steps. Updates to the map and the vehicle trajectory can also be performed in batches of data acquired from multiple vantage points. The method is illustrated with sonar data from a testing tank and via experiments with a B21 land mobile robot, demonstrating the ability to perform CML with sparse and ambiguous data.