A Sliding Window Approach to Exploration for 3D Map Building Using a Biologically Inspired Bridge Inspection Robot

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on CYBER Technology in Automation, Control, and Intelligent Systems, 2015, pp. 1097 - 1102 (6)
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This paper presents a Sliding Window approach to viewpoint selection when exploring an environment using a RGB-D sensor mounted to the end-effector of an inchworm climbing robot for inspecting areas inside steel bridge archways which cannot be easily accessed by workers. The proposed exploration approach uses a kinematic chain robot model and information theory-based next best view calculations to predict poses which are safe and are able to reduce the information remaining in an environment. At each exploration step, a viewpoint is selected by analysing the Pareto efficiency of the predicted information gain and the required movement for a set of candidate poses. In contrast to previous approaches, a sliding window is used to determine candidate poses so as to avoid the costly operation of assessing the set of candidates in its entirety. Experimental results in simulation and on a prototype climbing robot platform show the approach requires fewer gain calculations and less robot movement, and therefore is more efficient than other approaches when exploring a complex 3D steel bridge structure.
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