Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Correa J. and Soto A. (2010)

Active visual perception for mobile robot localization

Revista : Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems
Volumen : 58
Número : 3-4
Páginas : 339-354
Tipo de publicación : ISI


Localization is a key issue for a mobile robot, in particular in environments where a globally accurate positioning system, such as GPS, is not available. In these environments, accurate and efficient robot localization is not a trivial task, as an increase in accuracy usually leads to an impoverishment in efficiency and viceversa. Active perception appears as an appealing way to improve the localization process by increasing the richness of the information acquired from the environment. In this paper, we present an active perception strategy for a mobile robot provided with a visual sensor mounted on a pan-tilt mechanism. The visual sensor has a limited field of view, so the goal of the active perception strategy is to use the pan-tilt unit to direct the sensor to informative parts of the environment. To achieve this goal, we use a topological map of the environment and a Bayesian non-parametric estimation of robot position based on a particle filter. We slightly modify the regular implementation of this filter by including an additional step that selects the best perceptual action using Monte Carlo estimations. We understand the best perceptual action as the one that produces the greatest reduction in uncertainty about the robot position. We also consider in our optimization function a cost term that favors efficient perceptual actions. Previous works have proposed active perception strategies for robot localization, but mainly in the context of range sensors, grid representations of the environment, and parametric techniques, such as the extended Kalman filter. Accordingly, the main contributions of this work are: i) Development of a sound strategy for active selection of perceptual actions in the context of a visual sensor and a topological map; ii) Real time operation using a modified version of the particle filter and Monte Carlo based estimations; iii) Implementation and testing of these ideas using simulations and a real case scenario. Our results indicate that, in terms of accuracy of robot localization, the proposed approach decreases mean average error and standard deviation with respect to a pasive perception scheme. Furthermore, in terms of efficiency, the active scheme is able to operate in real time without adding a relevant overhead to the regular robot operation.