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Terrain Mapping for a Roving Planetary Explorer

Martial Hebert, C. Caillas, Eric Krotkov, In So Kweon and Takeo Kanade
Conference Paper, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA '89), Vol. 2, pp. 997-1002, May, 1989

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The authors are prototyping a legged vehicle, the Ambler, for an exploratory mission on another planet, conceivably Mars, where it is to traverse uncharted areas and collect material samples. They describe how the rover can construct from range imagery a geometric terrain representation, i.e., elevation map that includes uncertainty, unknown areas, and local features. First, they present an algorithm for constructing an elevation map from a single range image. By virtue of working in spherical-polar space, the algorithm is independent of the desired map resolution and the orientation of the sensor, unlike algorithms that work in Cartesian space. Secondly, the authors present a two-stage matching technique (feature matching followed by iconic matching) that identifies the transformation T corresponding to the vehicle displacement between two viewing positions. Thirdly, to support legged locomotion over rough terrain, they describe methods for evaluating regions of the constructed elevation maps as footholds.

BibTeX Reference
title = {Terrain Mapping for a Roving Planetary Explorer},
author = {Martial Hebert and C. Caillas and Eric Krotkov and In So Kweon and Takeo Kanade},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA '89)},
month = {May},
year = {1989},
volume = {2},
pages = {997-1002},