Real-Time SLAM with Octree Evidence Grids for Exploration in Underwater Tunnels

Nathaniel Fairfield, George A. Kantor, and David Wettergreen
Journal of Field Robotics, , 2007


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Abstract
We describe a Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) method for a hovering underwater vehicle that will explore underwater caves and tunnels, a true three dimensional (3D) environment. Our method consists of a Rao-Blackwellized particle filter with a 3D evidence grid map representation. We describe a procedure for dynamically adjusting the number of particles to provide real-time performance. We also describe how we adjust the particle filter prediction step to accommodate sensor degradation or failure. We present an efficient octree data structure which makes it feasible to maintain the hundreds of maps needed by the particle filter to accurately model large environments. This octree structure can exploit spatial locality and temporal shared ancestry between particles to reduce the processing and storage requirements. To test our SLAM method, we utilize data collected with manually-deployed sonar mapping vehicles in the Wakulla Springs cave system in Florida and the Sistema Zacat\'on in Mexico, as well as data collected by the DEPTHX vehicle in the test tank at the Austin Applied Research Laboratory. We demonstrate our mapping and localization approach with these real-world datasets.

Keywords
slam, underwater, particle filter, octree

Notes
Sponsor: NASA
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Field Robotics Center
Associated Project(s): DEPTHX: Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer
Note: This is a preprint of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Field Robotics Copyright (2006)

Text Reference
Nathaniel Fairfield, George A. Kantor, and David Wettergreen, "Real-Time SLAM with Octree Evidence Grids for Exploration in Underwater Tunnels," Journal of Field Robotics, , 2007

BibTeX Reference
@article{Fairfield_2007_5590,
   author = "Nathaniel Fairfield and George A Kantor and David Wettergreen",
   editor = "Paul Newman",
   title = "Real-Time SLAM with Octree Evidence Grids for Exploration in Underwater Tunnels",
   journal = "Journal of Field Robotics",
   publisher = "Wiley",
   address = "Hoboken, NJ",
   year = "2007",
   Notes = "This is a preprint of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Field Robotics Copyright (2006)"
}