Bearings-Only Localization and Mapping

Matthew Deans
doctoral dissertation, tech. report CMU-RI-TR-05-41, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, September, 2005

  • Adobe portable document format (pdf) (9MB)
Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

In many applications, mobile robots must be able to localize themselves with respect to environments which are not known a priori in order to navigate and accomplish tasks. This means that the robot must be able to build a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously localizing itself within that map. The so-called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping or SLAM problem is a formulation of this requirement, and has been the sub ject of a considerable amount of robotics research in the last decade.

This thesis looks at the problem of localization and mapping when the only information available to the robot is measurements of relative motion and bear- ings to features. The relative motion sensor measures displacement from one time to the next through some means such as inertial measurement or odome- try, as opposed to externally referenced position measurements like compass or GPS. The bearing sensor measures the direction toward features from the robot through a sensor such as an omnidirectional camera, as opposed to bearing and range sensors such as laser rangefinders, sonar, or millimeter wave radar.

A full solution to the bearing-only SLAM problem must take into consid- eration detecting and identifying features and estimating the location of the features as well as the motion of the robot using the measurements. This thesis focuses on the estimation problem given that feature detection and data as- sociation are available. Estimation requires a solution that is fast, accurate, consistent, and robust.

In an applied sense, this dissertation puts forth a methodology for build- ing maps and localizing a mobile robot using odometry and monocular vision. This sensor suite is chosen for its simplicity and generality, and in some sense represents a minimal configuration for localization and mapping.

In a broader sense, the dissertation describes a novel method for state estima- tion applicable to problems which exhibit particular nonlinearity and sparseness properties. The method relies on deterministic sampling in order to compute sufficient statistics at each time step in a recursive filter. The relationship of the new algorithm to bundle adjustment and Kalman filtering (including some of its variants) is discussed.

Number of pages: 160

Text Reference
Matthew Deans, "Bearings-Only Localization and Mapping," doctoral dissertation, tech. report CMU-RI-TR-05-41, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, September, 2005

BibTeX Reference
   author = "Matthew Deans",
   title = "Bearings-Only Localization and Mapping",
   booktitle = "",
   school = "Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University",
   month = "September",
   year = "2005",
   number= "CMU-RI-TR-05-41",
   address= "Pittsburgh, PA",