A Bayesian Framework for Multi-Stage Robot, Map and Target Localization

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Virginia Tech

This thesis presents a generalized Bayesian framework for a mobile robot to localize itself and a target, while building a map of the environment. The proposed technique builds upon the Bayesian Simultaneous Robot Localization and Mapping (SLAM) method, to allow the robot to localize itself and the environment using map features or landmarks in close proximity. The target feature is distinguished from the rest of features since the robot has to navigate to its location and thus needs to be observed from a long distance. The contribution of the proposed approach is on enabling the robot to track a target object or region, using a multi-stage technique. In the first stage, the target state is corrected sequentially to the robot correction in the Recursive Bayesian Estimation. In the second stage, with the target being closer, the target state is corrected simultaneously with the robot and the landmarks. The process allows the robot's state uncertainty to be propagated into the estimated target's state, bridging the gap between tracking only methods where the target is estimated assuming known observer state and SLAM methods where only landmarks are considered. When the robot is located far, the sequential stage is efficient in tracking the target position while maintaining an accurate robot state using close only features. Also, target belief is always maintained in comparison to temporary tracking methods such as image-tracking. When the robot is closer to the target and most of its field of view is covered by the target, it is shown that simultaneous correction needs to be used in order to minimize robot, target and map entropies in the absence of other landmarks.

EKF, SLAM, target, tracking, mapping