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Online 3D LIDAR Monte Carlo localization with GPU acceleration

Janusz Marian Bedkowski (Instytut Podstawowych Problemow Techniki PAN, Warsaw, Poland)
Timo Röhling (Department of Cognitive Mobile Systems, Fraunhofer FKIE, Wachtberg, Germany)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 19 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to focus on real-world mobile systems, and thus propose relevant contribution to the special issue on “Real-world mobile robot systems”. This work on 3D laser semantic mobile mapping and particle filter localization dedicated for robot patrolling urban sites is elaborated with a focus on parallel computing application for semantic mapping and particle filter localization. The real robotic application of patrolling urban sites is the goal; thus, it has been shown that crucial robotic components have reach high Technology Readiness Level (TRL).

Design/methodology/approach

Three different robotic platforms equipped with different 3D laser measurement system were compared. Each system provides different data according to the measured distance, density of points and noise; thus, the influence of data into final semantic maps has been compared. The realistic problem is to use these semantic maps for robot localization; thus, the influence of different maps into particle filter localization has been elaborated. A new approach has been proposed for particle filter localization based on 3D semantic information, and thus, the behavior of particle filter in different realistic conditions has been elaborated. The process of using proposed robotic components for patrolling urban site, such as the robot checking geometrical changes of the environment, has been detailed.

Findings

The focus on real-world mobile systems requires different points of view for scientific work. This study is focused on robust and reliable solutions that could be integrated with real applications. Thus, new parallel computing approach for semantic mapping and particle filter localization has been proposed. Based on the literature, semantic 3D particle filter localization has not yet been elaborated; thus, innovative solutions for solving this issue have been proposed. Recently, a semantic mapping framework that was already published was developed. For this reason, this study claimed that the authors’ applied studies during real-world trials with such mapping system are added value relevant for this special issue.

Research limitations/implications

The main problem is the compromise between computer power and energy consumed by heavy calculations, thus our main focus is to use modern GPGPU, NVIDIA PASCAL parallel processor architecture. Recent advances in GPGPUs shows great potency for mobile robotic applications, thus this study is focused on increasing mapping and localization capabilities by improving the algorithms. Current limitation is related with the number of particles processed by a single processor, and thus achieved performance of 500 particles in real-time is the current limitation. The implication is that multi-GPU architectures for increasing the number of processed particle can be used. Thus, further studies are required.

Practical implications

The research focus is related to real-world mobile systems; thus, practical aspects of the work are crucial. The main practical application is semantic mapping that could be used for many robotic applications. The authors claim that their particle filter localization is ready to integrate with real robotic platforms using modern 3D laser measurement system. For this reason, the authors claim that their system can improve existing autonomous robotic platforms. The proposed components can be used for detection of geometrical changes in the scene; thus, many practical functionalities can be applied such as: detection of cars, detection of opened/closed gate, etc. […] These functionalities are crucial elements of the safe and security domain.

Social implications

Improvement of safe and security domain is a crucial aspect of modern society. Protecting critical infrastructure plays an important role, thus introducing autonomous mobile platforms capable of supporting human operators of safe and security systems could have a positive impact if viewed from many points of view.

Originality/value

This study elaborates the novel approach of particle filter localization based on 3D data and semantic mapping. This original work could have a great impact on the mobile robotics domain, and thus, this study claims that many algorithmic and implementation issues were solved assuming real-task experiments. The originality of this work is influenced by the use of modern advanced robotic systems being a relevant set of technologies for proper evaluation of the proposed approach. Such a combination of experimental hardware and original algorithms and implementation is definitely an added value.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research leading to these results has received funding from the Polish National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) under grant agreement PBS3/B3/25/2015 project: “Examination of the new spatial scanning head and its modifications in application on mobile robots for environment mapping”.

Citation

Bedkowski, J.M. and Röhling, T. (2017), "Online 3D LIDAR Monte Carlo localization with GPU acceleration", Industrial Robot, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 442-456. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-11-2016-0309

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited