Institut für Informatik

Technical Report No. 231 - Abstract

A. Kleiner, C. Dornhege
Real-time Localization and Elevation Mapping within Urban Search and Rescue Scenarios

Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) is a time critical task. Rescue teams have to explore a large terrain within a short amount of time in order to locate survivors after a disaster. One goal in Rescue Robotics is to have a team of heterogeneous robots that explore autonomously, or partially guided by an incident commander, the disaster area. Their task is to jointly create a map of the terrain and to register victim locations, which can further be utilized by human task forces for rescue. Basically, the robots have to solve autonomously in real-time the problem of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), consisting of a continuous state estimation problem and a discrete data association problem. Extraordinary circumstances after a real disaster make it very hard to apply common techniques. Many of these have been developed under strong assumptions, for example, they require polygonal structures, such as typically found in office-like environments. Furthermore, most techniques are not deployable in real-time. In this paper we propose real-time solutions for localization and mapping, which all have been extensively evaluated within the test arenas of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). We specifically deal with the problems of vision-based pose tracking on tracked vehicles, the building of globally consistent maps based on a network of RFID tags, and the building of elevation maps from readings of a tilted Laser Range Finder (LRF). Our results show that these methods lead under modest computational requirements to good results within the utilized testing arenas.

Report No. 231 (PostScript)