A Probabilistic Approach to Collaborative Multi-Robot Localization


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Abstract

This paper presents a statistical algorithm for collaborative mobile robot localization. Our approach uses a sample-based version of Markov localization, capable of localizing mobile robots in an any-time fashion. When teams of robots localize themselves in the same environment, probabilistic methods are employed to synchronize each robot's belief whenever one robot detects another. As a result, the robots localize themselves faster, maintain higher accuracy, and high-cost sensors are amortized across multiple robot platforms. The technique has been implemented and tested using two mobile robots equipped with cameras and laser range-finders for detecting other robots. The results, obtained with the real robots and in series of simulation runs, illustrate drastic improvements in localization speed and accuracy when compared to conventional single-robot localization. A further experiment demonstrates that under certain conditions, successful localization is only possible if teams of heterogeneous robots collaborate during localization.

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