FastSLAM: A Factored Solution to the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping Problem

AAAI Conferences

The ability to simultaneously localize a robot and accurately map its surroundings is considered by many to be a key prerequisite of truly autonomous robots. However, few approaches to this problem scale up to handle the very large number of landmarks present in real environments. Kalman filter-based algorithms, for example, require time quadratic in the number of landmarks to incorporate each sensor observation. This paper presents FastSLAM, an algorithm that recursively estimates the full posterior distribution over robot pose and landmark locations, yet scales logarithmically with the number of landmarks in the map. This algorithm is based on an exact factorization of the posterior into a product of conditional landmark distributions and a distribution over robot paths. The algorithm has been run successfully on as many as 50,000 landmarks, environments far beyond the reach of previous approaches. Experimental results demonstrate the advantages and limitations of the FastSLAM algorithm on both simulated and realworld data.


Monte Carlo Localization: Efficient Position Estimation for Mobile Robots Dieter Fox, Wolfram Burgard, Frank Dellaert, Sebastian Thrun

AAAI Conferences

This paper presents a new algorithm for mobile robot localization, called Monte Carlo Localization (MCL). MCL is a version of Markov localization, a family of probabilistic approaches that have recently been applied with great practical success. However, previous approaches were either computationally cumbersome (such as grid-based approaches that represent the state space by high-resolution 3D grids), or had to resort to extremely coarse-grained resolutions. Our approach is computationally efficient while retaining the ability to represent (almost) arbitrary distributions. MCL applies sampling-based methods for approximating probability distributions, in a way that places computation "where needed." The number of samples is adapted online, thereby invoking large sample sets only when necessary. Empirical results illustrate that MCL yields improved accuracy while requiring an order of magnitude less computation when compared to previous approaches. It is also much easier to implement.


Decentralized Sensor Fusion With Distributed Particle Filters

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This paper presents a scalable Bayesian technique for decentralized state estimation from multiple platforms in dynamic environments. As has long been recognized, centralized architectures impose severe scaling limitations for distributed systems due to the enormous communication overheads. We propose a strictly decentralized approach in which only nearby platforms exchange information. They do so through an interactive communication protocol aimed at maximizing information flow. Our approach is evaluated in the context of a distributed surveillance scenario that arises in a robotic system for playing the game of laser tag. Our results, both from simulation and using physical robots, illustrate an unprecedented scaling capability to large teams of vehicles.


Probabilistic Algorithms in Robotics

AI Magazine

This article describes a methodology for programming robots known as probabilistic robotics. The probabilistic paradigm pays tribute to the inherent uncertainty in robot perception, relying on explicit representations of uncertainty when determining what to do. This article surveys some of the progress in the field, using in-depth examples to illustrate some of the nuts and bolts of the basic approach.


Probabilistic Algorithms in Robotics

AI Magazine

This article describes a methodology for programming robots known as probabilistic robotics. The probabilistic paradigm pays tribute to the inherent uncertainty in robot perception, relying on explicit representations of uncertainty when determining what to do. This article surveys some of the progress in the field, using in-depth examples to illustrate some of the nuts and bolts of the basic approach. My central conjecture is that the probabilistic approach to robotics scales better to complex real-world applications than approaches that ignore a robot's uncertainty.