Estimating the Heading of a Husky Mobile Robot with a LiDAR Compass based on Direction Maps

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Gallant, Marc J.
Marshall, Joshua A.
Lynch, Brian K.
LiDAR , Localization , Compass , Heading Estimation , Direction Maps
Without an absolute position sensor (e.g., GPS), an accurate heading estimate is necessary for proper localization of an autonomous unmanned vehicle or robot. This paper introduces direction maps (DMs), which represent the directions of only dominant surfaces of the vehicle’s environment and can be created with negligible effort. Given an environment with reoccurring surface directions (e.g., walls, buildings, parked cars), lines extracted from laser scans can be matched with a DM to provide an extremely lightweight heading estimate that is shown, through experimentation, to drastically reduce the growth of heading errors. The algorithm was tested using a Husky A200 mobile robot in a warehouse environment over traverses hundreds of metres in length. When a simple a priori DM was provided, the resulting heading estimation showed virtually no error growth.
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