Estimating the position and orientation of a mobile robot with respect to a trajectory using omnidirectional imaging and global appearance
Along the past years, mobile robots have proliferated both in domestic and in industrial environments to solve some tasks such as cleaning, assistance, or material transportation. One of their advantages is the ability to operate in wide areas without the necessity of introducing changes into the existing infrastructure. Thanks to the sensors they may be equipped with and their processing systems, mobile robots constitute a versatile alternative to solve a wide range of applications. When designing the control system of a mobile robot so that it carries out a task autonomously in an unknown environment, it is expected to take decisions about its localization in the environment and about the trajectory that it has to follow in order to arrive to the target points. More concisely, the robot has to find a relatively good solution to two crucial problems: building a model of the environment, and estimating the position of the robot within this model. In this work, we propose a framework to solve these problems using only visual information. The mobile robot is equipped with a catadioptric vision sensor that provides omnidirectional images from the environment. First, the robot goes along the trajectories to include in the model and uses the visual information captured to build this model. After that, the robot is able to estimate its position and orientation with respect to the trajectory. Among the possible approaches to solve these problems, global appearance techniques are used in this work. They have emerged recently as a robust and efficient alternative compared to landmark extraction techniques. A global description method based on Radon Transform is used to design mapping and localization algorithms and a set of images captured by a mobile robot in a real environment, under realistic operation conditions, is used to test the performance of these algorithms.