PurposeThis paper aims to evaluate four different simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) systems in the context of localization of multi-legged walking robots equipped with compact RGB-D sensors. This paper identifies problems related to in-motion data acquisition in a legged robot and evaluates the particular building blocks and concepts applied in contemporary SLAM systems against these problems. The SLAM systems are evaluated on two independent experimental set-ups, applying a well-established methodology and performance metrics.Design/methodology/approachFour feature-based SLAM architectures are evaluated with respect to their suitability for localization of multi-legged walking robots. The evaluation methodology is based on the computation of the absolute trajectory error (ATE) and relative pose error (RPE), which are performance metrics well-established in the robotics community. Four sequences of RGB-D frames acquired in two independent experiments using two different six-legged walking robots are used in the evaluation process.FindingsThe experiments revealed that the predominant problem characteristics of the legged robots as platforms for SLAM are the abrupt and unpredictable sensor motions, as well as oscillations and vibrations, which corrupt the images captured in-motion. The tested adaptive gait allowed the evaluated SLAM systems to reconstruct proper trajectories. The bundle adjustment-based SLAM systems produced best results, thanks to the use of a map, which enables to establish a large number of constraints for the estimated trajectory.Research limitations/implicationsThe evaluation was performed using indoor mockups of terrain. Experiments in more natural and challenging environments are envisioned as part of future research.Practical implicationsThe lack of accurate self-localization methods is considered as one of the most important limitations of walking robots. Thus, the evaluation of the state-of-the-art SLAM methods on legged platforms may be useful for all researchers working on walking robots’ autonomy and their use in various applications, such as search, security, agriculture and mining.Originality/valueThe main contribution lies in the integration of the state-of-the-art SLAM methods on walking robots and their thorough experimental evaluation using a well-established methodology. Moreover, a SLAM system designed especially for RGB-D sensors and real-world applications is presented in details.
Industrial Robot: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 19, 2017