Tom Stone
Thu 10 Mar 2016, 12:45 - 13:45

If you have a question about this talk, please contact: Steph Smith (ssmith32)

 Place recognition is a key capability for navigating robots. While significant advances have been achieved on large, stable platforms such as robot cars, achieving robust performance on rapidly manoeuvring platforms in outdoor natural conditions remains a challenge, with few systems able to deal with both variable conditions and large tilt variations caused by rough terrain.  Taking inspiration from biology, we propose a novel combination of sensory modality and image processing to obtain a significant improvement in the robustness of sequence-based image matching for place recognition. We use a UV-sensitive fisheye lens camera to segment sky from ground, providing illumination invariance, and encode the resulting binary images using spherical harmonics to enable rotation-invariant image matching. In combination, these methods also produce substantial pitch and roll invariance, as the spherical harmonics for the sky shape are minimally affected, providing the sky remains visible.
Our system demonstrated an improved condition- and tilt-invariance, enabling robust place recognition during aggressive zigzag manoeuvring along bumpy trails and at tilt angles of up to 60 degrees. I will present our methods and also the resulting performance compared to a leading appearance-invariant technique (SeqSLAM) and a leading viewpoint-invariant technique (FAB-MAP 2.0) on three new outdoor datasets encompassing variable robot heading, tilt, and lighting conditions in both forested and urban environments.