Mutual information-based exploration on continuous occupancy maps

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2015, 2015-December pp. 6086 - 6092
Issue Date:
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© 2015 IEEE. The problem of active perception with an autonomous robot is studied in this paper. It is proposed that the exploratory behavior of the robot be controlled using mutual information (MI) surfaces between the current map and a one-step look ahead measurements. MI surfaces highlight informative areas for exploration. A novel method for computing these surfaces is described. An approach that exploits structural dependencies of the environment and handles sparse sensor measurements to build a continuous model of the environment, that can then be used to generate MI surfaces is also proposed. A gradient field of occupancy probability distribution is regressed from sensor data as a Gaussian Process and provide frontier boundaries for further exploration. The continuous global frontier surface completely describes unexplored regions and, inherently, provides an automatic termination criterion for a desired sensitivity. The results from publicly available datasets confirm an average improvement of the proposed methodology over comparable standard and state-of-the-art exploratory methods available in the literature by more than 20% and 13% in travel distance and map entropy reduction rate, respectively.
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