IMPROVED REAL-TIME SCAN MATCHING USING CORNER FEATURES
Keywords: Scan Matching, SLAM, Laser Range Finder, Point Registration, Least Squares, ICP, Line Tracking, PCA
Abstract. The automation of unmanned vehicle operation has gained a lot of research attention, in the last few years, because of its numerous applications. The vehicle localization is more challenging in indoor environments where absolute positioning measurements (e.g. GPS) are typically unavailable. Laser range finders are among the most widely used sensors that help the unmanned vehicles to localize themselves in indoor environments. Typically, automatic real-time matching of the successive scans is performed either explicitly or implicitly by any localization approach that utilizes laser range finders. Many accustomed approaches such as Iterative Closest Point (ICP), Iterative Matching Range Point (IMRP), Iterative Dual Correspondence (IDC), and Polar Scan Matching (PSM) handles the scan matching problem in an iterative fashion which significantly affects the time consumption. Furthermore, the solution convergence is not guaranteed especially in cases of sharp maneuvers or fast movement. This paper proposes an automated real-time scan matching algorithm where the matching process is initialized using the detected corners. This initialization step aims to increase the convergence probability and to limit the number of iterations needed to reach convergence. The corner detection is preceded by line extraction from the laser scans. To evaluate the probability of line availability in indoor environments, various data sets, offered by different research groups, have been tested and the mean numbers of extracted lines per scan for these data sets are ranging from 4.10 to 8.86 lines of more than 7 points. The set of all intersections between extracted lines are detected as corners regardless of the physical intersection of these line segments in the scan. To account for the uncertainties of the detected corners, the covariance of the corners is estimated using the extracted lines variances. The detected corners are used to estimate the transformation parameters between the successive scan using least squares. These estimated transformation parameters are used to calculate an adjusted initialization for scan matching process. The presented method can be employed solely to match the successive scans and also can be used to aid other accustomed iterative methods to achieve more effective and faster converge. The performance and time consumption of the proposed approach is compared with ICP algorithm alone without initialization in different scenarios such as static period, fast straight movement, and sharp manoeuvers.