Robot Navigation and Mapping

Prof. J. Leonard
9 August 2011
This talk will have two parts. In part one, we will review recent progress in mobile robotics, focusing on the problems of simultaneous mapping and localization (SLAM) and cooperative navigation of mobile sensor networks. The problem of SLAM is stated as follows: starting from an initial position, a mobile robot travels through a sequence of positions and obtains a set of sensor measurements at each position. The goal is for the mobile robot to process the sensor data to compute an estimate of its position while concurrently building a map of the environment. We will present SLAM results for several scenarios including land robot mapping of large-scale environments and undersea mapping using optical imaging sensors. We will also describe work on cooperative navigation for networks of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and autonomous sea-surface vehicles (ASVs).

In the second part of the talk, we will provide an overview of MIT's entry in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. The goal of this effort was to produce a car that can drive autonomously in traffic. Our team developed a novel strategy for using a large number of many inexpensive sensors, mounted on the vehicle periphery, and calibrated with a new cross-modal calibration technique. Lidar, camera, and radar data streams are processed using an innovative, locally smooth state representation that provides robust perception for real-time autonomous control. A resilient planning and control architecture has been developed for driving in traffic, comprised of an innovative combination of well-proven algorithms for mission planning, situational planning, situational interpretation, and trajectory control. The performance of our system in the NQE and race events will be reviewed, and ideas for future research will be discussed.

For more information, see

Joint work with Seth Teller, Michael Bosse, Paul Newman, Ryan Eustice, Matthew Walter, Hanumant Singh, Henrik Schmidt, Mike Benjamin, Alexander Bahr, Joseph Curcio, Andrew Patrikalakis, Matt Antone, David Barrett, Mitch Berger, Ryan Buckley, Stefan Campbell, Alexander Epstein, Gaston Fiore, Luke Fletcher, Emilio Frazzoli, Robert Galejs, Jonathan How, Albert Huang, Karl Iagnemma, Troy Jones, Sertac Karaman, Olivier Koch, Siddhartha Krishnamurthy, Yoshi Kuwata, Keoni Maheloni, David Moore, Katy Moyer, Edwin Olson, Andrew Patrikalakis, Steve Peters, Stephen Proulx, Nicholas Roy, Daniela Rus, Chris Sanders, Seth Teller, Justin Teo, Robert Truax, Matthew Walter, and Jonathan Williams.
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