Robust Visual Path Following for Heterogeneous Mobile Platforms

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Das, Aveek; Naroditsky, O.; Zhiwei Zhu; Samarasekera, S.; Kumar, Rakesh, (2010) “Robust visual path following for heterogeneous mobile platforms,” Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2010 IEEE International Conference on, vol., no., pp.2431,2437, 3-7 May 2010


We present an innovative path following system based upon multi-camera visual odometry and visual landmark matching. This technology enables reliable mobile robot navigation in real world scenarios including GPS-denied environments both indoors and outdoors. We recover paths in full 3D, making it applicable to both on and off-road ground vehicles. Our controller relies on pose updates from visual odometry, allowing us to achieve path following even when only a joystick drive interface to the base robot platform is available. We experimentally investigate two specific applications of our technology to autonomous navigation on ground vehicles – non line-of-sight leader-following (between heterogeneous platforms) and retro-traverse to home base. For safety and reliability we add dynamic short range obstacle detection and reactive avoidance capabilities to our controller. We show the results for end-to-end real time implementation of this technology using current off-the-shelf computing and network resources in challenging environments.

Keywords: Robustness, Mobile robots, Navigation, Robot sensing systems, Robotics and automation, Robot kinematics, Land vehicles, Vehicle dynamics, Robot vision systems, Cameras

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