Appearance-based mapping using minimalistic sensor models

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10 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the problem of localization and map construction by a mobile robot in an indoor environment. Instead of trying to build high-fidelity geometric maps, we focus on constructing topological maps as they are less sensitive to poor odometry estimates and position errors. We propose a modification to the standard SLAM algorithm in which the assumption that the robots can obtain metric distance/bearing information to landmarks is relaxed. Instead, the robot registers a distinctive sensor "signature", based on its current location, which is used to match robot positions. In our formulation of this non-linear estimation problem, we infer implicit position measurements from an image recognition algorithm. We propose a method for incrementally building topological maps for a robot which uses a panoramic camera to obtain images at various locations along its path and uses the features it tracks in the images to update the topological map. The method is very general and does not require the environment to have uniquely distinctive features. Two algorithms are implemented to address this problem. The Iterated form of the Extended Kalman Filter (IEKF) and a batch-processed linearized ML estimator are compared under various odometric noise models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-246
Number of pages18
JournalAutonomous Robots
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements Material based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through grant #EIA-0224363, Microsoft Inc., and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, MTO (Distributed Robotics), ARPA Order No. G155, Program Code No. 8H20, Issued by DARPA/under Contract #MDA972-98-C-0008.


  • Kalman filter
  • State estimation
  • Visual SLAM


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